Selma’s future focus of forumPublished 10:24pm Tuesday, May 27, 2014
By Christopher Edmunds
The Selma Times-Journal
Young Selma residents will have a chance for their voices to be heard Friday at the Strengthening Selma’s Future Forum.
The forum, hosted by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System and the David Matthew Center for Civic Life, will give young people the chance to express their concerns with Selma and develop possible solutions.
Callie Nelson, county extension coordinator and organizer of the forum, said community leaders need to hear from young people in the area.
“We really want to hear what they have to say, so community leaders know what needs to be addressed,” she said.
Nelson said Selma and Dallas County have difficulty retaining young people after they go off to work or attend college. The forum will offer a chance for young people ages 15-21 to explain what it would take to keep them in the area.
Nelson said the forum will focus three different approaches to help retain youth in the community. The approaches include building a youth-friendly community, improving the local schools and offering leadership opportunities.
“One thing we need to do is build a youth-friendly community,” Nelson said. “We need to keep young people busy with both jobs and fun.”
Previous forums have seen success in creating local change, Nelson said.
“Our previous forum on bullying generated a lot of interest and awareness, so programs are now being planned at local schools at the request of concerned students,” she said. “Hopefully for this forum, there will be some students there who will spark an interest in the issues we have in our area.”
The forum will take place Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Alagasco building on Alabama Highway 14. Young adults ages 15-21 are invited to attend, and lunch will be provided. For more information, call 875-3200.
“Come with an open mind with your own ideas, but be ready to hear someone else’s concerns and ideas,” Nelson said. “A forum is not a debate.”