What projects and programs would make the Atlanta region a better place to live?
This was more than an academic question for the nearly 50 high school students who participated in this year’s Model Atlanta Regional Commission (MARC) youth leadership program.
The MARC participants, who represented each of the 10 counties in the Atlanta region, spent six months studying and debating regional issues and challenges. The students broke up into four committees and developed resolutions on topics such as mentoring, recycling and sidewalk maintenance.
MARC leaders presented their proposals to the ARC board on March 23. The board, in turn, assigned the resolutions to ARC’s standing committees for further study and discussion.
“I am so impressed with the innovative ideas that these young leaders have developed. These resolutions have the potential to help improve quality of life throughout the region. They deserve our careful review.”
The 2015-16 MARC resolutions are:
- ‘Adopt a Grandparent’ program – Encourage strong, multi-generational communities through the pairing of an older adult and high school students, promoting an improved emotional and physical health for both parties.
- ‘Mentor Match’ program – Match elementary school students with successful high school students as mentors to reduce gang-violence and, ultimately, improve graduation rates.
- Upgrade recycling bins – Encourage the adoption of improved recycling bins, modeled after containers used in Germany, that include separate spaces to sort common recyclable materials such as paper, plastic, aluminum, glass, as well as regular trash.
- Promote recycling programs in schools – Encourage students to be more active members of the “green” movement by forming partnerships between local governments and school systems and encouraging local governments to add student representation to their sustainability and “Keep Beautiful” teams.
- Future Fair – Host an educational and entertaining event aimed at high school and college students to involve them in the Atlanta Region’s Plan and its vision for the region’s future.
- MARC website — Create a website for current, former and prospective MARC students to encourage participation in MARC, help MARC committees share information, and keep alumni engaged.
- Sidewalks website – Promote walkability and safe sidewalks through the development of a website that enables residents to inform local governments of sidewalks that need maintenance or areas that could be better served by sidewalks.
- Promoting healthy environmental practices – Create a social media campaign on Twitter to educate students about environmentally friendly transportation practices and provide tips and reminders that encourage them to adopt habits that are good for the environment.
Now in its 18th year, the MARC program provides high school sophomores and juniors the opportunity to learn more about the community in which they live while honing their leadership skills.
“MARC provides motivated youth an opportunity to show our community that we want to make a difference and are able to enact change,” said Majesty Uwagerikpe, a junior at North Gwinnett High School who was elected by his MARC peers to serve as chairman of the 2015-16 class.
Applications are now being accepted for next school year’s class.