Teaching Teens to Make a Difference in Our Community
The Cherokee County Youth Council is a group of enthusiastic, hardworking and creative students seeking to make an impact in our community. Through leadership training, civic involvement and prevention advocacy, students learn to have an active voice on topics that are greatly affecting their age group: marijuana and prescription drug use, alcohol consumption, cyber bullying, teen suicide and general health issues. Students in grades 8-12 are coming together to get educated on what really is going on in their community, and working with one another to help bring about change and lead their peers.
Our goal is to be present as an example, educator and friend to the kids who face these struggles and issues in their lives. Primarily, we hope to reach kids at or before the age they will be in these compromising situations, to help them understand that they are in control of their future and can decide what their future looks like.
Through leadership training and civic involvement, we hope to educate our young leaders how to promote a positive message that young people do not need drugs and alcohol to have a good time, how to be a better friend by not accepting online negative messages, and how to live a better, healthier lifestyle.
We hope to have representation from every school, home school, religious organization, club, team and everything in between. The council is for the YOUTH of Cherokee County who would like to make the place they live, and the friends and family they love, just a little bit better.
The students who become a part of this organization will have the opportunity to be trained by local leaders, as well as experts from the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America and the Georgia Teen Institute. This experience gives students a chance to collaborate and learn from people outside of Cherokee County. Because of these amazing opportunities, we are seeking the best of the best. Teens are not too young to make a difference and have a voice, and each student in this organization will finish each year with a sense of pride and accomplishment.
The youth council is supported by Cherokee FOCUS, Drug Free Cherokee, the Chick-fil-A Leader Academy, and grants from the Drug Free Communities program from the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Parents and students interested in getting involved or wanting more information can contact Jeff Bennett at CCYCLeaders@gmail.com and Michael Carpenter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jeff Bennett, a Cherokee County native and veteran counselor with the Cherokee County School District who has a passion for youth leadership development and community engagement.