submitted photo — Ferriday Junior High School student Kevin Sanders shakes the hand of Ferriday Mayor Gene Allen. Sanders recently wrote a letter to Allen with concerns about Ferriday’s lack of youth recreation opportunities.

Bright Future: Sanders already set for politics

Published 12:01am Thursday, January 10, 2013

Ferriday — Move over Ferriday Mayor Gene Allen, because sixth-grader Kevin Sanders is making his mark on the community.

After moving to Ferriday from New Orleans, the Ferriday Junior High School student became frustrated with what he saw as a lack of recreation options available for area youth.

“In other towns there’s so much to do for kids to have fun and stay out of trouble, but here I wasn’t really seeing anything for us to do,” Sanders said. “From my house in New Orleans, I could walk to a bowling alley or a park and stay there all day.

“I know Ferriday isn’t a big city or anything, but I just get so bored here sometimes.”

Last summer, Sanders’ mother, Eulonda Lee, suggested he write a letter to the Ferriday mayor so his voice could be heard.

“(Kevin) would always be talking about the things he wanted to have in town, and one day I told him to write it down and we could send it to Mayor Allen,” Lee said. “I saw Mayor Allen after that and said, ‘my son said he wants to write you a letter’ and the mayor said, ‘I want that letter.’”

Sanders, 12, sat down on his computer and typed Allen a two-page letter including a list of 10 suggestions for activities and recreation for the Town of Ferriday.

“Sir, there is nothing for the kids in Ferriday to do,” Sanders said in his letter. “I wish we could have the same opportunities as other cities.

“We are so bored that’s why these kids sell drugs and commit crimes because of boredom, so I am about to type you a list of things we would like to do.”

The list included having the town’s swimming pool reopened with trained lifeguards, an end-of-school festival and a recreational park on Louisiana 15.

Sanders, however, said he is fully aware of the current issues facing the town and realizes those have to come first.

“I know you have to fix the water problem as well, but I don’t know how to help you with that,” Sanders said in his letter. “Thanks for listening Mayor Allen, I know you have a lot to do, but I know you will get it done for us.

“Thank you and God Bless: Kevin Sanders — future leader of the country.”

After receiving Sanders’ letter, Allen said he was impressed with the student’s interest in improving the community.

“There are a lot of kids that talk about things that need to be done, but it’s good to see someone put it down in a letter,” Allen said. “I’m very impressed with him and his letter.

“He is a very bright young man, and I want to make sure we live up to his expectations.”

The letter resonated with Allen so much that he decided to read it aloud during a public meeting Allen hosted to report on his first 100 days in office.

“My mom told me that the mayor read it out loud in front of everyone, and I said, ‘for real?’” Sanders said. “I was very shocked, but played it cool when I was on the bus telling everyone.

“When I got home I was jumping and shouting because I was so excited.”

Even before writing the letter, Sanders said he’s had aspirations of leadership roles.

“I think I’m a natural leader, and I always try to tell people not to be a follower and just be yourself,” Sanders said. “My dream is to be the president of the United States.”

But until he moves to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Sanders said he’ll stay involved with the community to ensure a better future for Ferriday’s youth.

“Whenever I watch movies it always shows kids selling drugs or shooting people, and I just don’t want me or my friends to end up like that,” Sanders said. “I’ll have to write Mayor Allen another letter if things don’t change, but I think they will.”