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Statesboro Youth Council creates waves of change as local advocates for Bulloch County Youth

The Statesboro Youth Council is designed to allow the voices of local youth to be heard in our community. These youth can help shape public policy and offer youth perspectives on local issues. The City of Statesboro's vision for the Youth Council is to cultivate the advancement of young persons by giving them a voice in political, social, and economic platforms. Members on the Youth Council regularly participate in local events and initiatives to help create change for youth in the community.
The Statesboro Youth Council. Photo Courtesy of the City of Statesboro Statesboro Youth Council.

The Statesboro Youth Council's mission is to empower young people to be authentic, creative forces in their communities through civic engagement and public policy shaping. 

The Youth Council additionally strives to create personal and professional opportunities for its members, while helping to promote a positive image of the youth in Bulloch County.

"The Statesboro Youth Council became an ordinance back in February 2023," said Dr. LaSara Mitchell, Youth Program Coordinator and Director of Statesboro Village Builders. "I initially came on board here with Village Builders, but eventually petitioned to have a Youth Council. As the City of Statesboro looks to serve its youth, it is important that we hear from them directly and get their feedback on things that may be affecting them. I felt that we needed a panel of youth that would represent the youth population of the county; particularly to be able to help in the decision making process and provide informed decisions for our City Council officials. So through that petitioning process, the Statesboro Youth Council was formed."

More about the Council's goals and activities

The purpose of the Statesboro Youth Council is multifaceted. The Council strives to provide an opportunity for the youth to

  • Acquire greater knowledge and appreciation for the political system through active participation in local government;
  • Engage in public outreach and civic engagement efforts;
  • Serve as a voice on issues affecting the lives of young people in various areas.
  • Participate in leadership development courses and activities
  • Provide experiences enabling youth to become productive citizens and leaders in the community.

"At our initial intake upon starting the program, we had about 60 students apply to be apart of the council," Mitchell shared. "Over the summer, they went through their official training process and integration into the youth council municipal government. Since then, they have been doing volunteer work in the community on various aspects of volunteer service.

Some recent work from the Statesboro Youth Council includes

  • Attending City Council Meetings every week
  • Attending Board of Education Meetings
  • Serving as the lead initiatives in any projects that we do with village builders
  • Being apart of the Youth Commission to help provide ideas and feedback, as well as participate in the decision making processes for the different events or initiatives taking place in the community
  • Joining a mental health panel in the community to help provide feedback and insight as to how mental health is affecting youth in the community
  • Serving as help during the Summer 2023 Downtown Live Concert Series 
  • Serving as help during the Boys & Girls Club Back to School Giveaways
  • Serving at the 7th Mile Farm's 2023 Summer Camps to act as Assistant Camp Counselors

"[The youth] have participated in numerous events which have been related to their overall objective goal for 2023-2024," Mitchell added. "Their 2023-2024 objective is focused on 'Youth and Peer Mentorship'. That simply means that their focus is currently on building positive relationships with the youth in the community, while also building positive relationships with adults in the community."

Statesboro Youth Council Roster

The following students currently serve on the Statesboro Youth Council. We'll get to know some of them shortly.

  • Ivana Casuso-Junior Mayor
  • Scarlett Brickey-Mayor Pro Tem
  • Jamersyn Hughes-Jr.Mayor Elect Second Term
  • Chloe Jones-District 1 Representative and Jr. Mayor Elect
  • Azaria Joyce-District 2 Representative SHS Liason
  • Kelbi Taylor-District 3 Representative SEBHS Liason
  • Kendra Payne-District 4 Representative
  • Alecia Johnson-Public Outreach Committee Chair
  • Ashton Pennington-Secretary
  • Miriam Garcia-Recorder
  • Mason Hughes-Historian
  • William Fry-Service Committee Chair
  • RaNeci Beniman- Events Committee Chair
  • Stephen Edwards-STEAM School Liason

"They have been doing extremely well with their agendas and initiatives," Mitchell said of the members. "They have served from summer concert days, to back to school giveaways with the Boys and Girls Club, to many other activities. They also helped out at the 7th Mile Farm summer camps recently with children 11 and under. They have even been invited back next year to be actual camp counselors. They attend city council meetings every week and some board of education meetings, all to be well informed on what is happening in the community and how it may affect them and their peers."

A few quotes from Youth Council members

Hear more from some of these outstanding youth below, as several of the Council members share their "why" for participating in the program. 

Ivana Casuso (Junior Mayor)

Ivana Casuso-Junior Mayor. Photo Courtesy of City of Statesboro.

"Youth voices matter, and they deserve to be heard, respected and acted upon. I am committed to working tirelessly to ensure that the needs and concerns of our youth are not only acknowledged but also addressed. Advocacy has been a longstanding part of my journey, and I have dedicated myself to making a positive impact on our community. As I approach graduation from high school, my dedication to youth advocacy remains unwavering. I am determined to continue supporting and speaking up about these critical issues. My dream is to pursue a degree in Political Science to further equip myself with the knowledge and skills needed to advocate for change on a broader scale."

Scarlett Brickey (Mayor Pro Tem)

Scarlett Brickey-Mayor Pro Temp. Photo Courtesy of City of Statesboro.

"I currently serve as your Mayor Pro Tem for The Statesboro Youth Council. My job is to fulfill the mayor's role if the mayor can't that day. I joined The Statesboro Youth Council because I saw that this council could change the ways things are done in Statesboro that can be more accommodating for the youth of Statesboro. My job is to be the voice of the kids in Statesboro who can't voice their opinions because they are shut down."

Jamersyn Hughes (Jr. Mayor-Elect, Second Term)

Jamersyn Hughes-Jr.Mayor Elect Second Term. Photo Courtesy of City of Statesboro.

"I am an active member of 'The City of David Worship assembly' church. I attend countless activities at school to better myself while hoping to better other youth in the process. I love people in general and it gives me joy to be around others. I, Jamersyn Hughes, the 2024 Jr. Mayor, am passionate about peer mentorship. Building positive relationships inspires others to be better versions of themselves. I truly believe everyone needs someone. I believe youth are the future. I’m an active student of Statesboro high school and love kids. I believe that we are the future, and together, we can shape a brighter tomorrow."

For more information on the Statesboro Youth Council, visit or email Dr. LaSara Mitchell at [email protected]