Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council inducts ACT 30-plus club in teen meeting

DERON TALLEY, EDITOR @DeRonTalley
Donaldsonville Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council inducted six students to its inaugural ACT 30-plus club last week in a teen town meeting.

The Donaldsonville Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council (MYAC) conducted its first teen town meeting last week, where it inducted five Ascension Catholic High students and one Donaldsonville High student to its inaugural ACT 30-plus club and learned the seriousness of the mojo drug, and how government works when it comes to recreation in the Donaldsonville area.

Tamiko Stroud, president of the MYAC, called out the six students and presented them each with certificates. The ACT, formerly known as the American College Testing Program and tests in Math, English, Science and Writing. Scoring 30-plus on it places students in the 95th percentile of all students who take it.

From Ascension Catholic Zach Capello, Hunter Daigle, Landon Daigle, Lee Landry, and Falcon Mire were all recognized, while Jason Williams, of Donaldsonville High, was honored as well.

Stroud said the MYAC is thinking of a way to build the community as a place to grow 20 to 50 years from now. And that it would take the efforts of students like those six to give their input and effort into make it something positive.

After the ACT 30-plus club was inducted, the MYAC proceeded with its meeting that had an agenda that read discussions of Mojo, Prescription Drug use and Recreation.

Allison Hudson, Public Information Officer for the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office, was the facilitator for the mojo and prescription drug use amongst teens. With her she brought Captain Ricky Bergeron, Lt. Chris Fontenot, Detective Donald Hunt, and Sid Newman of Crime Stoppers in Baton Rouge.

Hudson explained to the group of teens what mojo is and the effects it could have. In some states, there are bans on the formulas of mojo, Hudson said, but manufactures create new formulas that make it hard to control, which allows it to be sold in gas stations locally.

Hudson encouraged the teens to let authorities know of people who use mojo because, “you could be saving their life.”

Stroud presented Hudson with a certificate of appreciation on behalf of the MYAC “for bringing a valuable contribution to the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council.”

“If you know where it is contact us so we can get that stuff off the streets because it is killing teenagers.”

“You’re smoking something you don’t know what these manufacturers put in it,” Hudson said. “You could take one hit of it and that could be the end of your life.”

Ascension Parish Councilman for District 1, which represents the majority of the West bank, Oliver Joseph informed the teens of the local recreation opportunities there are. He also told the teens what could be done to make it better.

By the summer, the City of Donaldsonville should see approximately a $900,000 improvement to the Crescent Park area, and also a Water Spray Park developed at the fairgrounds, according to Joseph and Mayor Leroy Sullivan.

“As elected officials we can put up a good fight, but without you all sitting out there that’s a hard fight to get things you want,” Joseph said. “When you’re behind us and out fighting for it too, it’s not microwave fast, but it will happen if you put an effort to it and be dedicated to it.”

Teens in the audience asked how could recreation be set up like Baton Rouge’s BREC system. Joseph told the group about the recent millage that failed on the November ballot. It passed in Donaldsonville but failed across the parish as a whole.

Some asked if there could be a possibility Donaldsonville creates its own tax for recreation.

“If you want to look at recreation and tie it into anti-drugs, that’s exactly what it does,” Judge Pegram Mire said, out in the audience. “If you find something for kids to be involved in, find something for them to be proud of, find something for them to do, then you can subtract the drugs.”

“Get them addicted to that soccer ball, basketball, football and they not going to be addicted to that mojo,” Judge Mire said. “I suggest we pass a tax district wide because every district’s recreation is different. Recreation in Donaldsonville and on the West bank is totally different than it is St. Amant, Dutchtown, and Sorrento. It’s just totally different. Not good, bad, but just different and I think we need to attack it in a different way.”

Mayor Sullivan said until the West bank speaks up as a unified voice, “we’ll always be fallen short.”

“A tax for the west bank may be something that’s doable because if there is a tax that’s just for here we can do things for here.”

Tamiko Garrison, founder/director of MYAC, said this is just a teachable moment for the MYAC and the teens in the audience gathered at Donaldsonville’s City Hall.

“This is to teach you how the system works because sometimes you think stuff just appears because,” Garrison said. “No it appears because somebody asked for it, they walked it through the system and they got it."

“If 50 of you guys show up at a meeting speaking on behalf of something don’t you think they’ll listen?”