Empowering Youth, Building a Sustainable Future: Decatur’s Commitment

Every year, on August 12th, the global community comes together to celebrate International Youth Day. This significant occasion shines a spotlight on the potential and vibrancy of young people worldwide. It’s a day to address youth issues on the global stage and acknowledge the incredible role youth play as partners in shaping today’s world. Decatur, a community deeply committed to nurturing youth development, seizes this moment to showcase its unwavering dedication to empowering young minds and creating a sustainable future for generations to come.  

A Hub of Youth Empowerment

In Decatur, we recognize that our young community members are not just future leaders, but today’s change-makers. Through a diverse range of initiatives, we provide our youth with platforms to engage, contribute, and lead. This summer, members of Decatur’s Youth Council and Teen Leadership Team traveled to Denver, showcasing their expertise as they presented to the National Civic League. This effort earned Decatur the title of one of the prestigious 10 All-America Cities, underscoring the power of involving youth in identifying and tackling community challenges. This recognition reinforces our commitment to authentic youth involvement, as exemplified by projects like the McKoy skate park redesign and the inclusive playground at Legacy Park – testaments to Decatur’s dedication to a brighter and more youth-friendly future.  

Embracing a Green Transition

This year’s International Youth Day theme, “Green Skills for Youth: Towards a Sustainable World”, resonates deeply with goals outlined in Decatur’s 2020 Strategic Plan. As the world embarks on a journey towards environmental sustainability, Decatur recognizes the pivotal role of young people in driving this green transition. Green skills, encompassing technical knowledge and values, are pivotal for creating a resource-efficient society. Our city embraces this shift, understanding that a greener world is not only crucial for addressing the global climate crisis but also for achieving sustainability goals and improving the overall quality of life for our community. Opportunities abound for youth leadership in environmental issues, including two spots on the Environmental Sustainability Board and participation in the Teen Leadership Team, working on the environmentally conscious city priority area.  

ESB Youth Membership Application

The City of Decatur’s commitment to youth empowerment is tangible through our Environmental Sustainability Board. The board is now seeking two passionate youth members for the upcoming school year. High-school-aged students who aspire to make a meaningful impact on our city’s environmental initiatives are encouraged to apply. Students should fill out the Statement of Interest Form found on the ESB page and submit to the City Manager, Andrea Arnold at andrea.arnold@decaturga.com.   

Championing Child-Friendly Cities

We take pride in leading the charge with the Child Friendly Cities Initiative (CFCI), a pioneering effort that prioritizes the well-being and rights of our young citizens. Collaborating with the Decatur Education Foundation, Decatur Housing Authority, and City Schools of Decatur, our Parks & Recreation team is dedicated to creating a community that safeguards and promotes children’s rights. Our commitment to youth empowerment goes beyond mere symbolism – it yields tangible results. The CFCI Teen Leadership Team, composed of high school students, has already achieved remarkable impact. In its first year, the team explored priority areas like building trust with law enforcement, promoting an equitable and inclusive city, improving access to, and awareness of, mental health services, creating an environmentally conscious city, and enhancing public spaces for all. This dedication has led to the adoption of the CFCI Local Action Plan for Youth, a testament to Decatur’s resolve in creating a child-friendly city. To apply for the 2023-24 CFCI Teen Leadership Team visit the CFCI section on our page and review the informational sheet or reach out to Claire Miller at claire.miller@decaturga.com.  

Join Us in Forging a Brighter Path

Decatur extends a warm invitation to all to be part of our transformative journey. As we celebrate International Youth Day, let’s stand united in supporting our youth, their ideas, and their aspirations. Together, we can construct a world that’s both sustainable and bursting with opportunities for our young leaders.