Zebulon Youth Council is moving forward

amoody@newsobserver.comJanuary 24, 2014 

Jasmine Porter, center, speaks on initial plans to raise awareness of distracted driving during a meeting of the Zebulon Youth Council on Monday.

AARON MOODY — amoody@newsobserver.com Buy Photo

— A local activist group is thinking a lot like a town council, only through the eyes of a teenager.

The Zebulon Youth Council has met eight times since its formation in September and its members have been identifying what they see as issues in the area and discussing possible solutions, among other ways they can help in the community.

Jasmine Porter, a STEM Early College High School junior who initiated the youth council, said the group of about 10 teenagers is unique because of its perspective.

“As teenagers we see things differently because we are almost adults, but we’re not facing the same kinds of responsibilities,” Porter said. “We’re not always dealing with the same things (as adults), so I guess if we see a challenge or a problem in our community we will attack it a different way.”

Other current council members attend East Wake High School and East Wake Academy, and all are ages 16 to 18.

At its meeting Monday, the unit worked on a mission statement. Members also revealed short-range plans to act on the one of their top issues – distracted driving.

Chris Williams, a senior at East Wake, said the plan includes passing out informational fliers on the hazards of distracted driving and even getting peers to sign pledges against distracted driving.

“We want to post them on walls so everyone can see them,” Williams said of the pledges. “We happen to be the first people to see distracted driving right now because of our age. We see our friends texting and we see the outcome where some people get in accidents.

“So we want people to be aware and let them know ...what could happen if you text (and) be more aware of the situation texting and driving can cause.”

Porter added the council is interested in setting up informational booths on that topic at area businesses.

Looking forward, the teen committee has its sights on serving with the local brown bag lunch ministry, which provides free meals to those in need on Saturdays. Williams also mentioned ideas for other projects, like labeling trees for a nature walk at Zebulon Community Park and doing more to promote outdoor, physical activity.

“I feel like this is just a start,” said Mya Russell, also a senior at East Wake. “This can be a greater establishment. We just want to reach out in the community in general.”

The youth council is supervised by Theresa Barbour, who works part-time at the Zebulon Community Center.

“I just love children and being able to reach out into the community, and I think that’s what this council is all about,” Barbour.

Youths ages 12 to 18 who are interested in joining the council can learn more by calling the community center at 919-823-0432.

Moody: 919-829-4806; Twitter: @easternwakenews

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