DONALDSONVILLE — A group of local high school students officially began the second year of a reborn program that involves local youth in government.
Returning and new members of the 2015-16 Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council took their oaths of office during the Aug. 11 City Council meeting.
MYAC’s mission is to serve as advocates for local youth to city government, addressing issues that affect local youth while also offering a chance to learn volunteer, leadership and civic skills.
“MYAC’s motto is ‘Young People Leading the Way to a Better Tomorrow,’ ” said Tamiko Garrison, volunteer coordinator of the group.
Garrison said the group was originally created in 1996, under then-Mayor Bernard J. Francis Sr., Garrison’s father. However, the group remained dormant until 2014, when current Mayor Leroy Sullivan Sr. and Garrison revived and restructured the program.
MYAC’s makeup was increased from last year’s eight positions to 16 seats, eight sophomore or junior students each from Ascension Catholic High School and Donaldsonville High School, Garrison said, with each school allowed one alternate.
“The former council didn’t want to leave, so we increased the size,” she said.
MYAC members are recommended by their school principal, guidance counselor or a teacher, and must maintain a 3.0 or higher GPA to serve, Garrison said.
The group changed the rules so that students can serve until they graduate high school, she added, instead of the previous one-year term.
Donaldsonville High students serving on the council include President Tamiko Stroud, Vice President Kaitlyn Williams, Sergeant at Arms Jalon Chatman, Chair of Committees Jimmia Williams, Social Media Director Lawrence Brown III and members Kerrionne Brown, Darell Honora and Nina Smith. Whitney Baker was named as the school’s alternate member.
Ascension Catholic students named to the council include Secretary/Treasurer Maerys Joseph, Parliamentarian Paige Joseph and members Catherine Eure, Victoria Eure and Whitney Eure. Three open seats remain to represent the school on the council.
The council holds public meetings on the first Saturday of the month to discuss items of interest, Garrison said. They also meet often with the mayor, City Council, local business owners and community groups.
Sullivan said last year’s group “hit the ground running,” attending numerous city gatherings and local events.
“They did a lot of positive things,” the mayor said of the council. “They were active in the community. We’re expecting bigger and better things this year.”
Sullivan said he wants the council to be able to approach him with ideas from the community’s young people.
“We may not have the means to enact some of the ideas you present, but if we have an idea, we can at least work toward those goals,” he told the council.
Sullivan’s final words to the new council were to “serve with your heart and your soul. Serve like you love Donaldsonville and you want to see it be a better community.”
For information on the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council, including a copy of the group’s 2014-15 annual report, visit www.myacdville.com.