Mayor introduces Youth Advisory Council

STAFF REPORT @dvillechief
left to right 2014-2015 Mayor's Youth Advisory Council for the City of Donaldsonville with City Council Member, Mayor and Coordinator
Front row - former Mayor Bernard Joseph Francis, Sr., Jimmia Williams, Katilyn Williams, Tamiko Stroud, Paige Joseph, Maeyrs Joseph, Jalon Chatman and Lawrence Brown III
Back row City Attorney Chuck Long, Councilman Emile Spano, Councilman Reginald Francis, Sr., Councilman Lauthaught Delaney, Sr., Councilman Raymond Aucoin, Mayor Leroy Sullivan, Councilman Charles Brown, and Tamiko Garrison, Coordinator of MYAC

Donaldsonville Mayor Leroy Sullivan, Sr. introduced four students from Donaldsonville High School (Lawrence Brown III, Junior, Jalon Chatman, Sophomore, Katilyn Williams, Sophomore and Jimmia Williams, Junior) and three students from Ascension Catholic High School (Maeyrs Joseph, Junior, Paige Joseph, Sophomore, and Tamiko Stroud, Sophomore) as Commissioners of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council (MYAC) for the City of Donaldsonville.  The ceremony took place in the Council Chambers of City Hall by Mayor Leroy Sullivan in the presence of the city council, family members, Ascension Parish leaders, Donaldsonville Community Leaders and friends. 

The Youth Council was created in 1996 during the mayoral term of former Mayor Bernard J. Francis, Sr. It was formed for the purpose of providing a mechanism for young people to get involved and become a part of the decision making process and Mayor Francis wanted the young people to have an opportunity to learn leadership and civic skills.  The Youth Council has been dormant since his term ended.

In April 2014, Mayor Leroy Sullivan with the assistance of Tamiko Francis Garrison, Volunteer Coordinator, resurrected the Youth Council and changed the name to the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council. 

The mission of the MYAC is to represent and advocate on behalf of the youth in Donaldsonville and for our youth to have an opportunity to learn volunteer, leadership and civic skills.

The commissioners will serve one year from August to June.

“The forming of this council was a historical eye opener for me,” said Tamiko Garrison, Coordinator of MYAC.  

Garrison said she contacted Mayor Sullivan about the council and “he was thrilled.” 

“(The Mayor) told me that I need to go before the City Council with the proposal,” Garrison said. “During my presentation, City Attorney Chuck Long stated that an ordinance already existed and that the Youth Council was formed in 1996.  After the meeting, I called my dad, former Mayor Bernard Francis, Sr. and he said yes we created the council to give the youth a voice during my administration. All I could say was wow, because I did not know.”

Each school’s administration was charged with soliciting and identifying four students who met the qualifications, having those students complete an application and recommending those students to the Coordinator, Mayor and City Council.  The requirements for participation are the students must be in the 10th or 11th grade, must be recommended by a principal, school counselor, or teacher, possess solid communications skills, work well with others in a collaborative manner, think holistically to identify problems, be willing to actively search for and work toward solutions and have at least a 3.0 grade point average on a 4.0 scale.

Donaldsonville Council Chairman Raymond Aucoin said he’s not sure if he would be qualified if it his position was based on some of the qualifications.

“As I sat here and listened to the qualifications, I thank God that wasn’t required for us,” Aucoin said jokingly, “maybe I’m speaking for myself.”

“This is a great program,” he said in seriousness. “It’s something that’s been in the charter for a while and we’re glad to have it.”

  MYAC’s meeting will be held on the 1st Wednesday of every month in the Council Chambers at City Hall.  For additional information about MYAC, please contact Tamiko Francis Garrison at 225-803-4042 or call City Hall.