AVPRIDE and The City of Fayetteville pack one-two punch in youth leadership and civic engagement
AVPRIDE and The City of Fayetteville have taken to heart Fayette Vision’s call to develop youth leadership and civic engagement programs, with a powerful one-two punch over the last six months. The two have collaborated to promote youth engagement in their city planning process, and in the City’s participation in a Career Exploration Program at AVPRIDE this summer.
Youth engagement with Fayetteville’s Economic Development Plans
AVPRIDE’s Fayette Youth Leaders PRIDE program (FYLP) had 40 high school students from all five Fayette County high schools participating in a year-long leadership development program. This ongoing program includes dozens of service opportunities for civic engagement, as well as monthly four-hour workshops on such topics as “Personal Financial Management”, “Time Management”, “Conflict Resolution”, “Volunteering”, and “Marketing Yourself.”
Last December, FLYP invited the City of Fayetteville to present their economic development plans at the monthly workshop. Special guests Scott Stacy, City of Fayetteville councilmember, and Ray Gibson, Fayetteville’s city manager, presented the City’s economic development process, why it was important, and heard ideas from the youth on what they are looking for in choosing how they enjoy their present location and where they live in the future. The students participated in the economic development survey which the City conducted last fall, offered the following ideas for deeper youth orientation:
- Build or attract the following amenities:
- Newer recreational center
- Aquatics center
- Bowling alley
- Equestrian center
- Ice rink
- Positive alternatives, like teen clubs.
- Reach out to engage youth in more feedback
- Be sure you listen, young people often don’t feel heard
- Create jobs for young people
- Provide jobs and internships for young people, especially medical-related
Aelise Gagliano, a Starr’s Mill High School rising senior, and FYLP participant, added what she valued about the exchange: “The December workshop was beneficial because it helped show us as teens of Fayette County how we can really shape the future of where we live. The City of Fayetteville Council needs us to speak up because we are the ones who can make the community more teen-friendly [and] will help the millennials move back into the community when we get older.”
Mentoring and Career Exploration collaboration
AVPRIDE has had a Career Exploration program for several years, giving students exposure to potential fields of their choice, and providing knowledge, skills and work experience to prepare them for the workforce.
This year, the City of Fayetteville has increased engagement with the program. For example, City Manager Ray Gibson is providing mentoring to one AVPRIDE student, Chuck Obi, who also had experience working as an intern for Fayette County Government’s Environmental Management Department last summer.
Also, the City of Fayetteville’s Human Resources Manager, Barbara Dudley, is working with Linda Metoyer, AVPRIDE’s Program Director for Youth Workforce Services, to create a formal internship program at the City for youth in AVPRIDE’s programs.