by Mayor Tammy

It’s hard to believe it’s already time for school – time does fly! Most of the students will head back to the classroom next week, so that means families will be busy prepping for the upcoming school year this week! I’m thrilled that I will be participating in the National Foundation for Women Legislators 2017 National Backpack Program – a partnership with the Office Depot Foundation. These partners are helping us kick off this school year by helping those that need an extra hand! I’ll be handing out 150 “sackpacks”, containing some essential school supplies and other fun items, at the Meridian Youth Farmers Market on Saturday, August 26 from 10am-12pm. Families with children who are in need of a sackpack and supplies for school are encouraged to attend! Having the opportunity through this partnership program to give kids a kick start to the school year is truly rewarding.

Another reason I look forward to the beginning of a school year is the start of another Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council (MYAC) season. This is a hugely rewarding part of my job serving with these high school aged teens - a youth organization dedicated to helping the City by tackling issues that area teens and the community face throughout Meridian. This is the time of year MYAC welcomes new faces and gets into full swing! Meridian students in grades 9th – 12th are invited to be a part of MYAC. They don’t need to be a Meridian resident – they just need to want to make a positive difference in our community! We’re holding a kickoff event for those who are interested on Monday, August 28 at 6pm or 7:30pm.

Our MYAC students continue to be leaders in the state and our community. Whether it is advocating legislative solutions or social causes that impact our youth, their voices are heard and they are stepping up donating their time and energy. But they are more than advocates and community volunteers – they are also charged with organizing events for their peers and area residents. One of their first objectives will be focused on the Youth Safety Summit in September. It brings in teens from the area and educates them on teen driver safety, as well as the effects of bullying and drugs and alcohol. Teens say the one day interactive event is a game changer and sets the tone for the school year.

I have high expectations again for this group. They have a passion for their community that is inspiring.  I have no doubt we are in for a successful school year!

Another way for teens to get involved this school year – to serve on a City Commission! Right now we are seeking applicants for our City Commissions and boards. Teens who serve must reside in the City or the area of impact and be in grades 9th - 12th. The deadline to apply is Friday, September 1, 2017. For more information, visit www.meridiancity.org/yoc.

As always, I want to remind drivers that students will soon be hitting the streets to walk, bike to school or wait for busses. Please be mindful and safe on the roads – and be sure to adjust your commute times as needed when school gets back into session next week.

I look forward to seeing many area students throughout the year - whether it’s through MYAC, my Walking Club or Book Club or if I speak in a classroom – connecting with our youth is always a highlight of my job!

For more information about the Mayor’s Backpack Giveaway or MYAC and this year’s orientation meetings, visit www.meridiancity.org/city_news.aspx.

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