Memphis Mayor AC Wharton kicks off Youth Ambassadors Program

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Memphis Mayor AC Wharton kicked off a lottery Saturday to randomly choose young people for the city's new Youth Ambassadors Program.

"You wouldn't believe the amount of work that has gone into this program," Wharton said.

Community businesses and organizations are partnering with the city to groom Memphis' youth in four key areas:  education, health, civic and social responsibility.

James Nelson of Youth and Community Services said these four core areas will help Memphis' youth in the future.

"Help our young people to be employable," Nelson said.

Eight community partners signed on for the $1.7 million program.

"We believe in this and we will be here for whatever you need," said Desi Franklin with the WIN Program.

The city changed the program's name from Summer Youth Jobs to Youth Ambassadors to help shed the previous administration's tarnished image.  Many students had to fight to get paid due to poor record keeping.

Instead of a summer program, the new one is year-round.  The city will employ 560 youths in two phases:  summer and fall.

"We've set it up so that all the seven council districts will have at least 80 participants," Wharton said.  "In order to participate, they've got to show that they've joined the neighborhood association and someone has sponsored them."

Interviews begin next week and the mayor will put the youths to work beginning in June.

For more information on the Youth Ambassadors Program and lottery results, click here.

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