Clayton Youth Council members from Johnston County high schools have committed to volunteering 1,000 hours by the end of the 2022-2023 school year through their community service initiative, “The Art of Coming Together.”
Clayton Youth Council (CYC) is a local volunteer organization that operates as a branch of North Carolina Department of Administration’s State Youth Council program. CYC is led by Johnston County high school students who are seeking opportunities to improve the area they live in, address issues faced by youth, and realize innovative solutions. CYC works closely with the Town of Clayton Government, Town Council, and Parks and Recreation Department. This year CYC’s slogan and unique initiative theme is “The Art of Coming Together”.
“Since 2019, the CYC has come together to collect 1,458 hours of community service. This year, they have set a new goal to reach 1,000 hours of community service by the end of the school year in May,” said CYC Advisor Joni Hubble-Zeneberg.
In 2021, North Carolina State Youth Council Awarded CYC the “Most Creative and Innovative Council Project” for their First Responders Appreciation Baskets that were gifted to local Police Departments, Fire Departments, and Emergency Management Services staff.
CYC’s philanthropy is inspired by four key words: inclusion, impact, service, and community.
This year, the council’s 77 members have collected school supplies to donate to local schools and joined in the National Clean Up Day efforts with a trash pickup. They also plan to work together to craft and deliver Veteran’s Day cards, volunteer at Parks and Recreation’s Special Needs Boo Bash Halloween Dance Party, collect food for a Thanksgiving food drive, and serve along many other community groups as volunteers.
“I joined CYC to give back to the community. Before I became a CYC member, I had a lot of free time which I would spend watching TV, working out, or sleeping. Now I can channel my time into something more meaningful and productive," said CYC member Caleb Lanier. "My favorite memory with CYC is helping children participate in the Town of Clayton Easter Egg Hunt last year. It felt good seeing the happy smiles of young kids after they had gotten a basket full of eggs."
Along with community service, the primary reasons teens keep coming back to CYC are the fun socials, friendships, new experiences, and opportunities to gain professional skills.
“CYC members are busy volunteering, but they also spend a lot of time upholding council responsibilities, editing their resumes, practicing interview skills, touring colleges, and learning about career paths,” said Hubble-Zeneberg.
Potentially, CYC members can be selected to attend State Youth Council leadership conferences, conventions, and apply to mini grant programs. These events and programs allow Johnston County teens to share their ideas with other young people from across the state.
Clayton Youth Council was chartered in 1995. Meetings take place on the first Monday of every month during the school year and members are required to engage in 10 hours of community service a week.
For more information, please visit www.claytonnc.org/cyc.