By: Nelson Cummiskey
Fulton County is one of the most diverse counties in Georgia. Stretching from as far North as Milton and South to Palmetto, Fulton County has residents from all walks of life. One group, however, seemed to be slipping through the cracks for a few years: the youth. Fortunately, there is a program that has been implemented to keep these voices at the forefront. This program is called the Fulton County Youth Commission.
This program is made up of young elected officials that represent the youth throughout the county. Each student represents their respectful districts, with about three to four students representing each of the six districts. The Youth Commissioners are also divided into committees so they can focus on their specific interests and how to help the community. These committees include the Legislative Committee, Health Committee, Environmental Committee, and the Public Relations Committee. Each committee has its own initiatives that they are working on to help the Fulton County community.
One initiative that has made large strides in the past few years is the N.E.O. (Not Even Once) Tour. Through this program, Youth Commissioners go to schools around Fulton County and describe to the youth how drugs can negatively impact their life. The goal is to show them why they shouldn’t use drugs, not even once. The program includes a slideshow presented by the Youth Commissioners and the program leader, Mr. Reginald Crossley. Through this slideshow, the effects of drugs are explored as well as the dangers included in taking them. Real-life examples of drug abuse and health effects are given such as a teen who suffered two collapsed lungs from vaping or a man who fell out of a four-story building due to hallucinations. This program is crucial in keeping kids from taking part in the drug epidemic that has gripped our society.
Another initiative that the Fulton County Youth Commission does is called H.O.P.E. (Helping Other People Everyday) Box. These are care packages that contain things like toiletries, protein bars, and other essentials. Members of the youth commission spend their Saturday mornings every third week of the month to pack these boxes and then distribute them to people experiencing extreme poverty around Atlanta. These packages also contain information on resources that can help people in unfortunate circumstances get back on their feet. The goal of this initiative is to help people not just for a day, but to become self-sufficient.
The Fulton County Youth Commission is an amazing program that engages today’s youth into local government. So many people like to say that they care about the youth, but with this program, Fulton County is really putting their money where their mouth is.