Madison Mayor’s Youth Council eager to have community voice

Madison Mayor’s Youth Council eager to have community voice


MADISON — Members of the Mayor’s Youth Council are looking forward to having a voice in the community and playing a part in the city’s future. 

“The Mayor’s Youth Council is a group of students who want to have their say in the community, since they are the future,” said Amy Cummins, director of Madison Community Partners. “This council is a good way for members to share experiences with one another, such as things they have been a part of in the city.” 

Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins-Butler says the Youth Council is a wonderful way to connect with the community’s future leaders. 

“We hope their participation will inspire them to become involved with their city,” Hawkins-Butler said. “I have said many times that local government is the level of government where you can truly make a difference.”

The Madison Mayor’s Youth Council was formed in 2002. Cummins said the program aims to help members learn about every component of the city, from meeting the mayor and the aldermen to observing Public Works, Community Development, Parks and Recreation, and more.  

The council is open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors, and members must either live in Madison or attend a school within the city limits. 

There is also an application process that includes questions about what motivates applicants to join the council, what programs they would like to see come to the community, and possible community service projects they could help coordinate, she said. 

Applicants must also get a letter of recommendation from someone like a youth pastor, teacher, or someone they’ve worked for that can attest their abilities.

The MYC gathered on Aug. 8 for their first 2023 meeting and spent time getting to know each other, learning about Community Partners, and discussing upcoming projects they want to do for the city. 

Cummins noted one of the MYC projects last year was setting up superhero-themed scarecrows in front of the Red Caboose on Main Street last October. The council is currently brainstorming on what project they want to do this year. 

Ellis Nichols, a senior at Madison Central, has been with the MYC since his sophomore year and said the council has been an integral part of his high school experience. 

“Since my sophomore year, I have been able to meet with members of my community through MYC that actively contribute to the security and comfort of Madison,” Nichols said. “One of my biggest takeaways is truly being able to see and be a part of this amazing group of young leaders who strive to learn and give back to the incredible community that raised them.” 

Dottie Dowe, a sophomore at Madison-Ridgeland Academy, is experiencing her first year on the council and hopes to learn more about Madison and how leadership makes a difference in the city. 

“I wanted to be a part of the Mayor’s Youth Council because this is a way to learn and also contribute to our community,” Dowe said. “The MYC gives opportunities to young people like me to make a positive impact right where we live.” 

Another first-year MYC member, Ford Stewart, is a senior at Madison Central and said he is looking forward to learning more about local government. 

“The city of Madison is an excellent example that can be modeled across the country,” he said. 

The MYC will meet every month until April, going along with the school year, and Cummins said each meeting will have different guest speakers. 

Mayor Mary Hawkins-Butler is expected to speak at the next meeting, where students will get to ask her questions and hear about how she became the mayor. 

“Members will be able to learn about every department in the city, including the police and fire departments,” Cummins said. “There are many aspects to learn about. Last year we had a girl shadow the mayor for the day. Students will also attend board meetings and volunteer at city events, which in turn will earn them points. They have to have a certain amount of points by the end of April to stay in good standing and apply for next year’s council. If they are seniors, they can apply for a $1000 scholarship if they have a certain amount of points.” 

For more information about the Mayor’s Youth Council, contact Community Partners at (601) 856-7060. 

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