CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) — A few Charleston area students will soon have first-hand experience in city government, thanks to a new program by the City of Charleston.
Back in September, the city of Charleston announced the establishment of the Charleston Youth Council. The initiative was designed to engage teens in the Capital City and provide them a voice in developing public policy and community development initiatives.
Students living in Charleston ages 14 to 18 were encouraged to apply. The city received 48 applications. Of those applications, 15 students were selected.
Applications were reviewed by a seven-person committee comprised of the Mayor and six City Council Members—Ben Adams, Mary Beth Hoover, Joseph Jenkins, Adam Knauff, Tiffany Wesley-Plear and Chad Robinson.
The members of the 2019/2020 Charleston Youth Council include:
- Ryan Atassi, Charleston Catholic High School
- Cyna Beatty, Capital High School
- Emma Carpenter, George Washington High School
- Elijah Inman, Capital High School
- Nilaya Kanuri, George Washington High School
- Zoya Khalid, George Washington High School
- La’Nya LaMarr, Capital High School
- Makenzie Lanham, Sissonville High School
- Alexandra Macia, Charleston Catholic High School
- Abbigail Robinson, Capital High School
- Bryce Sullivan, George Washington High School
- Nola Todd, Capital High School
- Eva Toor, Charleston Catholic High School
- Delaney Wells, Charleston Catholic High School
- Elizabeth Zacks, Charleston Catholic High School
“The young people who applied for our inaugural Charleston Youth Council are the doers, the thinkers, the dreamers and the believers—they are engaged in what’s happening in our communities. That’s what I admire about them,” said Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin. “I am excited to get started with the inaugural Charleston Youth Council and look forward to working closely with them in the upcoming year.”
Youth Council members will serve one-term appointments and no more than two consecutive terms.
“Being involved in the city and developing those problem solving skills and communication skills, that is something that is so important no matter what career you go into,” said Zoya Khalid.
Members will be expected to participate in no less than six Charleston City Council meetings and volunteer a minimum of 20 hours which may include City events, round-table discussions, project planning, and Youth Council meetings.
“I love Charleston and I love living here and I think that it is important for young people to get involved,” said Ryan Atassi.
He added, “When someone says West Virginia you think just some guy living in the backwoods or something. We are a place that has many great people, with many great cultures, and I think that it is really important that we embrace that.”