Teens step up to voice what they want in their community

SAVANNAH, Ga. – Kids are the future and they have a lot to say when it comes changes they’d like to see.

They told Savannah city officials Wednesday afternoon on what needs to change in their neighborhoods.

“See more youth involvement, creating more opportunities for youth and trying to get them more involved,” Ahmad O’Neal, a 17-year-old Savannah Early College High School student, said. “Trying to make them more aware of different things going on in the city.”

A handful of students from schools like Savannah Christian and St. Vincent’s Academy voiced their opinions as part of the Savannah Forward campaign.

“These are people who want to hear what I have to say about how I feel my community should look in a couple of years,” Aliyah Dorsey, an 18-year-old St. Vincent’s Academy student, said. “I feel like it’s also my duty to be a part of that conversation.”

Until now, city leaders have only heard from adults, but they also wanted to hear suggestions from our teens in the community.

“It’s just about feeling that you can,” Dorsey said. “Some things you say will like make a difference to somebody.”

Some of those things keep your kids out of trouble.

“Because of the environment that I’m in over at Savannah Early College, there’s a good amount of crime that’s goin on over there,” O’Neal said. “It’s not always bad, but here and there you’ll hear you’ll have a couple blocks down maybe right next to the school. Good organizations like Chatham County Youth Commission, Youth Ambassadors; everything around the city that youth can get into, so they won’t get in trouble or not have anything to do and feel like all they have to do is be on social media all the time.”

Other teens talked about how bullying could be controlled in schools or creating more internship opportunities.

“Also, maybe provide counselors for them to talk to,” Dorsey said. “I feel like a lot youth sometimes we feel like we’re all by ourselves and that our experiences are so singular when really a lot of people feel the way we do.”

These comments will be taken to city leaders at the end of the Savannah Forward campaign. An opportunity teens said they were happy to have.

“Try to get awareness out to how they can do different things in the community instead of say bad things or havin nothing to do at all,” O’Neal said.

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