Hello again, readers!
I began my work experience back in April as soon as the spring term was complete. So, a month before this blog began, I had already done a significant amount of work on my practicum, which is in a bit of a lull right now. I want to fill you in on what has already been accomplished!
My work experience is on the city’s new Clean Communities Campaign (C3). The goal is to empower the youth in Albemarle to take pride in their communities and to promote youth civic engagement to make Albemarle a better place to live, work, and play. C3 allows me to engage with other city employees from a variety of departments to organize events, including fundraising; work with community sponsors to secure funding for our events; establish a social media presence for the initiative; serve as the city’s contact for all inquiries related to the event; and hold focus groups with students of all ages in our community to determine what is important to them in their communities.
Our first event was April 30. After many weeks of event planning, marketing, and fundraising, we gathered at the E.E. Waddell Community Center for a litter pickup followed by an after party with food, music, prizes, and a guest speaker. We had about 80 participants pick up over 150 bags of trash—that’s multiple tons of garbage! At the after party, Chris Suggs of Kinston Teens visited to speak to and inspire our youth. He has done incredible things in his 16 years of living, and he did a great job providing a call to action not only for his peers but also for the adults and city leaders present.
Chris made a great point that stuck with me: the city needs to reach out to youth and give them opportunities to engage in the government of their city. It seems so simple and may be obvious to you, but it was a revelation for me! If we want our kids and young adults to take ownership of their communities, we need to include them in the decision-making processes so they have a voice. I hope to develop a student advisory board during this experience to accomplish this goal.
Another wonderful thing about the event was all of the city employees who donated their time and efforts to help manage the event and participate in the cleanup. It gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling to see us pull together to make this event a success. And a success it was! We achieved the largest turnout for a community cleanup that anyone could remember.
Now, we are planning a second event as well as a yet-to-be-determined school contest around recycling or waste. I’m excited to work with the schools and see what the kids come up with.
Fun fact time! I owe you a fact from last week:
Albemarle Fun Fact #2: Albemarle is the hometown of American Idol winner, country music star, and reality TV personality Kellie Pickler.
This week’s fun fact:
Albemarle Fun Fact #3: Albemarle has an excellent museum with extensive photo and document archives as well as an active Facebook page. Check it out for more information on our history and some excellent old photographs.
Until next time,