by Jackson Sveen

In fall 2010, a group of incoming Davidson College freshman students decided to create Youth Davidson, a program that provides a platform for middle and high school students in North Mecklenburg and South Iredell areas to become more civically involved.

At the Davidson Town Board meeting on Dec. 11, two of the founders of Youth Davidson, sophomores Aric Reviere and Michael DeSimone, talked to the board about the organization’s first year.

The goals of the program, Reviere said, is to create forums for children to come to Davidson College students for help in addressing the issues they face in their communities and classrooms.

“Ultimately, we empower those students to create effective change through their independent service projects,” he said. “This idea is different from typical modes, in which there is more leading students through the process of change making. We really want our students to take the reins and make the changes themselves.”

Two projects that Youth Davidson’s middle schoolers have focused on are helping raise money for sustainability efforts in the area and for a giving tree that is connected with the Ada Jenkins Center in Davidson.

High schoolers in the program have done projects working with prevention of petty theft, suicide prevention and anti-bullying. The high school group has also created a list of issues they’d like to address in the future, including texting while driving and other traffic safety issues.

Youth Davidson is planning a youth leadership and empowerment summit on Feb. 16 that will bring 250 students from the North Mecklenburg and South Iredell areas to the college for a series of educational seminars on some of the region’s key issues.

“We really appreciate all that you all are doing,” said Davidson Mayor John Woods.

“It’s particularly meaningful to have the college students volunteer in the community, because you are seen by the teenagers as exactly where they want to be in just a few years. I think your leadership in this area has been very much appreciated and we appreciate your continuing to do it.”

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