In a recent blog, we posed a simple question: Where have all of the young people gone?
Much to our surprise, we received a lot of feedback that we found quite unsettling.
For context, here is one resident’s response:
“This is ridiculous. If someone is interested in the community, they will read the publications about their community. Few young renters have any vested interest in the happenings of the community, or much interest at all beyond free concerts! I don’t blame them for this, as I was the same in my younger years. In fact, I did not read up on community issues until I bought a house here, after renting here for several years. The ones who own property and businesses are the ones really vested in the community. They pay the taxes, study the issues, and show up at the meetings. Anyone interested in issues affecting the community can pick up a free Reporter all over Sandy Springs and attend the meetings if they are interested. But, they are not interested! Your position on this is ridiculous!”
~ Susan, resident of Sandy Springs for 39 years
Sadly, there were more like this one.
However, we also received a letter from two amazing young people: Eliza Bruno, the newly elected Valedictorian of the graduating class at Mt. Vernon School and rising freshman at Ga. Tech and her classmate, Kylie Smith-Wolfe, a rising freshman at the School of Nursing at University of Pennsylvania.
Sandy Springs Together published their full-length letter last week, which you can read here: [insert link to blog]
As teenage residents of Sandy Springs, while we applaud TSW and The City attempting to gather community input, we hope that both data and facts will be used to develop solid policy.
In addition, we are very concerned the City’s community outreach has been skewed and excludes a large portion of Sandy Springs’ citizens.
We believe that their letter offers a well thought-out perspective and confirms that there are young people who are involved in our community and care about its future.
In their letter, Kylie and Eliza talk about their future in Sandy Springs. They talk about their “hope to have the opportunity to continue to live, work, and grow in the Sandy Springs community.”
This only further proves that our young people want to not only live here, but work here and grow here. They love our community just as much as we do, which means we have to do everything we can to keep them here.
And it all starts by listening to them — and other young people like them.
“This will only be possible if we address specific problems, develop sound policy, and include all members of our community in the process,” Kylie and Eliza say in their letter.
We couldn’t agree more. We must do more to address the problems that our community faces, including small business promotion and affordable housing — both of which are mentioned in Kylie and Eliza’s letter.
Not convinced? Give their letter a read. These are two bright, driven young women who believe in the future of Sandy Springs as a place that they would love to call home.
We should do everything we can to help them realize that reality. Join us and let’s continue creating a community that works for everyone.