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Youth Council gets up close and personal with Mayor Heartwell

Mayor Heartwell discusses his State of the City Address with the Mayor's Youth Council.
Members of the Mayor's Youth Council with Mayor George Heartwell

Members of the Mayor's Youth Council with Mayor George Heartwell /Shannon L. Harris

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By: Akilah F.


Mayor Heartwell met with students of Mayor's Youth Council to get an outside opinion of what they not only thought about the State of the City Address that took place at the Devos Place on Jan. 28, but how as a whole the community and city can improve.

The mayor challenged citizens to impose the main questions he introduced in his speech to hopefully get plenty of feedback from his fellow citizens:

  1. Do we value all children equally and are we prepared to prioritize their needs above all others?
  2. What clear, identifiable needs do our community’s children have?
  3. What can we – individually or collectively – do to meet those needs?

"We are all, as citizens of Grand Rapids, responsible for the well-being of our children," Mayor Heartwell stated.

One frustration Heartwell expressed to his youth leaders was that urban middle and high school students are not able to have supporters to give the right materials to inherit the right mind of a healthy education. "With over 90 percent of our children being on free reduced lunch we are not only aware of the situations but not taking [the] lead to think about the hardship that youth has in the home," Heartwell said. 

Our Communities Children Program Coordinator Shannon L. Harris shared her knowledge and input on the State of the City address. "I believe the mayor's address was very relevant and powerful. What resonated with me was the challenge he posed to keep our children at forefront. If we all make children a priority in our everyday lives, imagine the outcome of improvement," said Harris.

James S., member of Mayor's Youth Council, said, "Mayor George Heartwell challenged me with his State appeal to not only be a better role model for my younger siblings but to take advantage of his education as much as possible."

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