Our Columbia: Youth & Education Policy

As Mayor, I will expand the City’s involvement in our youth. If we expect our children to live up to their God-given potential and be tomorrow’s workforce, then we must invest in them. We must create the environment for all children to be successful, no matter what zip code they reside in. While efforts to mitigate the spread and impact of COVID-19 vary across municipalities, the role of city officials has remained the same: to protect and serve people who call their community “home.”  

As Mayor, I will discard the siloed, narrowly defined, one-size-fits-all strategies and adopt a collective action guided by community priorities. I propose a fresh, new level of coordinated interventions that combines existing local resources, strengthens learning opportunities, and supports the needs of our youth, families, and educators.

Expand to a City-wide K-12 Afterschool Program

Our schools are responsible for educating our children for several hours a day. But
after the traditional school day ends every child deserves a structured environment that allows them to continue to learn and have access to resources like broadband internet. A city-wide challenge requires community-wide solutions. 

The afterschool program will utilize the City’s recreation centers, which are conveniently located throughout our community’s amazing neighborhoods. And, the effort will partner with our retired teachers, our faith-based organizations, the multitude of high education institutions home to our community, and organizations that provide services to our seniors to offer our youth incredible assets and mentors to help them reach their potential.

Eliminate Registration Fees

Our recreation centers should be a welcomed environment for all of our youth regardless of economic background. If we desire for all of our children to live up to their God-given potential and grow up in safe environments then we must offer all of our youth safe outlets. 

In addition to afterschool programs at every recreational center. We should offer meals and snacks each day through existing programs offered through USDA federal nutrition support and partnerships with SC Dept. of Social Services and Dept. of Education. We must expand our partnerships with local food banks and USDA sponsored meal programs to offer backpack food programs to support children and families with hunger needs over the weekend. And, we must consider how schools, arts and volunteer groups can add learning and arts packets to the food backpack program. 

Adopt a Youth Beautification Program

We need fresh ideas that allow us to engage our youth and tackle the challenges that our community faces at the same time. 

You make a judgment call on a neighborhood, a community, a city, by how it looks. With the adoption a Youth Beautification Program, we offer our youth with the opportunity to earn money and we are able to beautify our community’s neighborhoods and thoroughfares. There are opportunities to partner with our local nonprofit organizations to bring this to fruition. 

Creation of the Columbia Career Academy

As Mayor, I’ll bring Richland One, Richland Two, the City of Columbia, Richland County, and Midlands Technical College together to form the Columbia Career Academy so that we develop the diverse array of talent our community needs.

From HVAC, to software engineering, to plumbing, to ambulance EMTs, and more, there are a wealth of opportunities for our community to explore that provide them an opportunity for a lucrative career and immediate employment. 

With community partners, this effort will workforce skills connected to the profile of a SC graduate, the jobs available today, and provide the opportunity to earn digital badges. 

Expand Summer Employment Opportunities

It is critically important that our youth know the opportunities that at their fingertips. The best way for them to see that opportunity exists is for our community to provide a glimpse. A summer youth employment program is a proven model that provides a community’s youth with much needed access and opportunity. 

We must leverage our businesses and organizations to encourage a more diverse array of industry to participate.