Mayor Van Johnson promotes youth civic engagement


SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – As young people across the country weigh in on an unprecedented time in U.S. history, Savannah Mayor Van Johnson says our future lies in the hands of our youth leaders.

Johnson said he believes engaged citizens are created through education and opportunities to enact change.

Meredith Stone, a Savannah local, said when she joined the Savannah Youth Council as an eight grader, she thought of herself as “shy” and “afraid to speak up,” but within a few months she was working with other youth leaders––lobbying for legislative action.

As an architect who managed the construction of Savannah’s Cultural Arts Center, Stone said she learned how to be present, show up, and always be engaged from her time both on the Savannah Youth Council and the Chatham County Youth Commission.

“I think it’s incredibly important that kids are engaged in their community. They are just as important of a voice,” Stone said.

Johnson, who helped found the council in 2004, said he has a strong belief in getting youth engaged in local government.

“We need a generation of prepared young people, who have a shorter learning curve, that we can use their ingenuity, their creativity, their broad understanding to be able to make a difference in the cities in which we live,” Johnson stated.

To apply, students need to be in the eighth grade for the 2020-2021 school year in either a private, public or home school located in Savannah and Chatham County.

Click here for a link to the application.

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