The 2016-17 Youth Council took the oath of office at the City Council meeting on Monday, October 10, 2016. The Youth Council consists of eight high school students from Buford, Lanier, and North Gwinnett High Schools. Students were selected through an application and interview process involving city staff and Council Members. In its third year, the Youth Council welcomes three new members and five returning members, one of which has been with the Council since inception in 2014.
The group is led by the Youth Mayor, Taylor Morain, Youth Mayor Pro Tem, Aysha Jerald, and Secretary, Roshni Patel. Council Member Mike Sullivan acts as the Council Liaison to the Youth Council. Councilman Sullivan is elated with the progress of the Youth Council, “I am extremely proud and excited about this year’s Youth Council. Because of the activities and impact of last year’s council, we had the best pool of applicants we have ever had. This year we interviewed potential candidates instead of just reviewing applications, so that area has improved as well.”
The Sugar Hill Youth Council assists the Mayor and City Council in solving the problems and accomplishing the goals of Sugar Hill by facilitating open dialogue and discussion with the youth in the community. Youth Mayor, Taylor Morain, has enjoyed the opportunities provided to her by the Youth Council, “Youth Council has supplied us with an opportunity to be informed about our community and city government while also providing a youth perspective.”
Through the work of Council Member Sullivan and city staff, the Youth Council has become an example for other cities to follow. City staff was recently invited to sit on a panel at a state-wide Youth Summit regarding the formation of Youth Councils. The Youth Council has also received international recognition and is working with a team from Germany to develop relationships with Youth Councils around the world.
Council Member Sullivan shared his thoughts on the how the Youth Council has affected the city, “This year’s council has already demonstrated leadership before they had their first official meeting. City Staff has gotten involved in programs at both a state level and an international level, giving our Youth Council visibility on the world stage. Ten years ago, I had people asking me where Sugar Hill was. Today we have people contacting us to ask us the best way of getting things done. Quite a difference.”
(Pictured above from left to right: Aysha Jerald, Roshni Patel, Agam Singh, Kayla Roberts, Taylor Morain, Ethan Shaw, Nida Merchant Not pictured: Kaan Kubukcu)