United Way hosts Youth Board

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 19, 2006

NATCHEZ &8212; A new group of teenagers from the Miss-Lou are running their own show and helping the community.

The United Way Youth Board is made up of high school students from Monterey, Ferriday and Natchez, member Hope Stephens said Wednesday.

&8220;It started about three months ago when Mr. Jimmy Hibbs, our chairman, decided it would be a great idea to have a youth council,&8221; Stephens said. &8220;They got some guidance counselors together and asked for suggestions for who should be on the board.&8221;

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Hibbs said throughout his years serving on the United Way board, he has always wanted a youth board.

&8220;This year we finally got one,&8221; Hibbs said. &8220;The young people we have in the community are so bright and energetic, they just need to be given the chance to go out and do things, to help the community grow.&8221;

Young people are a big asset to the United Way of the Greater Miss-Lou, he said.

&8220;They understand things that are going on in the community that us adults would probably never understand or see,&8221; he said.

&8220;Sometimes we get in the mindset that it should be done that way because it&8217;s been done that way so many years. Kids come in with new ideas and electricity. We have outstanding kids on the board, and I&8217;m proud of them.&8221;

The youth board is still in the process of drawing up bylaws and electing officers, Stephens said, but they already have ideas for community projects.

One idea was gathering funds for a bus to transport veterans to the veteran hospital in Jackson, she said.

Another was to collect prom dresses and rent them to underprivileged teens who would not be able to afford them otherwise.

The board also plans to set up a volunteer database. When people call in looking for a place to volunteer, the youth board would be able to pull up a running list of organizations in the area that needed help.

Chase Caldwell, a student at Cathedral High School, said he has a history of community service with Boy Scouts and church youth group. The youth board was one way he could contribute.

&8220;It&8217;s a practical way I can serve my community &8212; it&8217;s pretty fun,&8221; Caldwell said.

&8220;I walked into my counselor&8217;s room, and I was going to pick up an ACT form. She said, &8216;Hey, you want to be on this board?&8217;&8221;

Aubrie LaSyone, a student at Vidalia High School, said the youth board was a great opportunity.

&8220;I&8217;ve always wanted to do volunteering,&8221; LaSyone said.

&8220;I never knew where to go or how to get involved.&8221;

Carita Winn has been involved with the Mayor&8217;s Youth Council, so she said she was interested in joining the youth board.

&8220;We have a lot of projects coming up, all community service-oriented,&8221; Winn said.

&8220;These are things we can do to give back to our community. I&8217;m really looking forward to that.&8221;

Champ Woods, a Natchez High School student, said he has been involved in community service through church and Beta club in the past.

&8220;I just like doing community service,&8221; Woods said.

&8220;I think it&8217;s a great way to help &8212; I think it&8217;s a very cool idea.&8221;

The youth board includes Brittany Allen, Chase Caldwell, Hope Stephens, Rakeema Thomas, Aubrie LaSyone, Parker Jones, Carita Winn, Champ Woods, Michael Scudiero, Jared Price and Cameron Cupit.