Forest Park Teen Council serves community

They are elected into office by students

Photo by Elaine Rackley
The Forest Park Teen Council holds its meetings twice a month at Forest Park City Hall. The teen council is made up of 32 elected members.

Photo by Elaine Rackley The Forest Park Teen Council holds its meetings twice a month at Forest Park City Hall. The teen council is made up of 32 elected members.

FOREST PARK — Some young elected officials gather twice a month to discuss Forest Park teen issues.

They make up the 32-member Forest Park Teen Council, which is a volunteer organization.

The purpose of the teen council is to develop leadership qualities as the council initiates, organizes, supervises and conducts programs and civic projects that benefit the youth of Forest Park and the surrounding communities, according to Forest Park Mayor-Pro-Tem Sparkle Adams.

Adams supervises the meetings which are held the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month in the Forest Park City Council room.

“They serve as a resource and advocate to the city on teen issues,” Adams said.

She said the teen council makes recommendations to the mayor, city council, department managers and residents on the delivery of teen programs, facilities, activities, services and policies. The teen council appoints standing sub-committees, policy, program and facility, as necessary to provide preliminary review and comment of recommendations. They also receive and evaluate input from the community on teen issues.

The council members run their campaigns during the teen council elections which are held every two years, Adams said.

“We hold elections at the school and the students vote for the candidate of their choice,” she said.

Joyce Eskeridge is the Clayton County Board of Health facilitator. Eskeridge introduces youth development topics, such as community services, decision making, goal setting, communications and relationships to the council.

“Clayton County Board of Health took over the Forest Park Teen Council in October,” Adams said. “They did it to implement its teen outreach program curriculum.”

Forest Park Teen Council President, Amoni Etheridge, 17, council city manager, David Hickson, 16, and ward one mayor, Ky’Wan Parker, 16, all attend Forest Park High school.

“I proudly attend Forest Park high,” Parker said as he chuckled. “I have a lot of school spirit.”

“We have one of the most the diverse high schools in the county,” Etheridge interjected.

The teen council meets year round and during the summer they work as interns in various city departments, said Adams.

In July, they held a political forum where candidates running for offices in Clayton County addressed the council. Some council members voted for the first time this year. The council also held a voter registration drive at Forest Park High School.

Tuesday, Adams honored selected members of the council with “Incentive Awards.”

Parker won the Club Coach award, Kenny Gilisch of Babb Middle school student won the Best Dressed award and Tommy Quach of Forest Park High School won the Most Helpful award.

“His answers are always well thought out and to the point,” Adams said.

Adams said she is planning to take the teen council to Washington D.C., March 9 until March 13, for the National League of Cities Conference.

“Hopefully we will tour the White House and perhaps even meet President Obama,” she added.