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Teen group providing voice for county youth
[February 28, 2013]

Teen group providing voice for county youth

Feb 28, 2013 (The Star - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- A group of Cleveland County teens is stepping up and showing they care about their community.

Two years ago, Cleveland County created a Youth Commission to give local youth a voice. The commission is like a student version of the Cleveland County Commissioners.

"It started after the commissioners went to a NC Associations of County Commissioners meeting where they talked about youth commissioners," said Mary Accor, advisor for the youth commission. "Our first group of students came out of the Early College who wanted to do the youth commission as a project." The county's youth were surveyed to find out what was important to them, and that information was presented to commissioners.

"The commissioners voted last year to make (the youth commission) a standing board," Accor said. "We surveyed the youth of the county to find out what was important to them so we could understand how our decisions impacted students." The Youth Commission is composed of 21 members and four officers. The current president is Burns High School senior Alli Howell.

"I've gained more leadership and discipline from this position in my school," Howell said. "I have gained more government and political knowledge on the local level." This fall, the students organized a food drive and donated items to Cleveland Pines and Wendover House Hospice.

The commission also raised $850 though tips and ticket sales by serving a pancake breakfast at Fatz.

The money was divided between the county's five high schools, given to counselors and donated toward food or school supplies for local students, Accor said.

From her community involvement, Howell said she has gained more respect for her town.

"I really value my hometown now," she said. "After college, I'm planning to come back because of all the great things I've seen going on in the community." To serve on the Cleveland County Youth Commission, students are selected by school counselors.

"I believe these will be the leaders of our community," Accor said.

Reach Jessica Pickens at 704-669-3332 or Members of the Cleveland County Youth Commission: Allison Howell (president), Burns High School Ashelin Hunt, Crest High School Maegan Barber, Shelby High School Paige Morton, Cleveland Early College High School Jordyn Peterson, Kings Mountain High School Brandon Crider, Burns High School Natural Gidney, Crest High School Diamond Brown, Shelby High School Kati Roy, Cleveland Early College High School Mason Fleisher, Kings Mountain High School Saronda Williams (VP), Burns High School Molly McConnell, Crest High School Tyla McClain, Shelby High School Seth Manuel, Early College High School Taylor Rogers, Kings Mountain High School Sara Odembo, Crest High School Austin Smith (Secretary), Shelby High School Andrew Thurman, Cleveland Early College High School Zach Grant, Kings Mountain High School Shelton Binion (Parliamentarian), Crest High School Chase Thompson, Shelby High School Allison Ward, Cleveland Early College High School Allen Williams, Kings Mountain High School ___ (c)2013 The Star (Shelby, N.C.) Visit The Star (Shelby, N.C.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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