May 29, 2024

Leading by Example, Inspiring Change: Students Lead Service Projects on City Appointive Agencies

High school students are invited to apply to become student members of City committees, boards and commissions.

Kamar Wilson and Yeardley Pearson

Appointive agencies play a vital role in making certain that Virginia Beach residents have input, and resident feedback and participation in these agencies is critical to ensuring all voices are heard, including youth voices. High school students are now bringing fresh perspectives to City committees, boards and commissions, and helping shape policies that directly affect them and their peers. 

Appointive agencies requiring high school student members include: 

  • Active Transportation Advisory Committee 
  • Bayfront Advisory Commission 
  • Clean Community Commission 
  • Flood Prevention Bond Referendum Oversight Board 
  • Green Ribbon Committee 
  • Historic Preservation Commission  
  • Human Rights Commission  
  • Open Space Advisory Committee 
  • Parks and Recreation Commission 
  • Public Library Board  

Passion and Creativity Add a Fresh Perspective to City Committee 

Yeardley Pearson is a senior at the Legal Studies Academy at First Colonial High School and is a student member on the Active Transportation Advisory Committee (ATAC). An avid runner and outdoors lover, Pearson wanted to engage the community, raise awareness for the VB Trail – a 12-mile-long, 10-foot-wide shared-use path that will stretch from the City’s western border with Norfolk to the Oceanfront –and help garner support for its funding. She painted a mural on the current portion of the VB Trail representing the connectivity the VB Trail will one day provide for the city.  

Yeardley Pearson painting mural

“Joining ATAC has honestly been the best thing that has happened to me this past year. It’s given me so many incredible opportunities,” Pearson said. 

Pearson’s fellow student commissioner on ATAC, Kamar Wilson, recently used his volunteer work helping to develop the VB Trail to earn a full scholarship to the University of Virginia. 

Driving Change Beyond Commission Meetings 

Simone Nied is an 11th grade student at Kempsville High School Entrepreneurship and Business Academy, and she has been a member of the Human Rights Commission since 2022. “I am happy to know that I can provide some change in my community and some positive impact and hopefully influence some decisions,” Nied said. 

Simone Nied at HRC Meeting

Fellow student commissioner Brycen Dildy has served on the Clean Community Commission since September 2023. “I care about people, and I care about the city that I’ve been raised in, so why not try and help out your own city?” Dildy said. By joining the commission, he was able to do just that. At one of the commission’s meetings, Dildy heard about a litter problem from a resident, and jumped into action. On April 15, he kicked off the inaugural ReFresh VB Litter Cleanup event at Lake Lawson/Lake Smith Natural Area.  

“All it takes is one person to make a difference,” he said.

Brycen Dildy with members of Clean Community Commission

Empowering Students with Knowledge 

Aubrey Moore, a junior at Princess Anne High School is also a student member of the Bayfront Advisory Commission (BAC). As a member of the Bayfront area community, Moore joined BAC to share her opinions and voice as a constituent and help influence change. She is able to take the information she learns at BAC and share it with her peers, enabling students from all over the district learn about what’s happening in the Shore Drive area.  

Aubrey Moore talking to classmates

“I’ve been incredibly grateful for this opportunity. It’s been very empowering to be able to share my voice, as a young person, in our local government. I hope that what I am doing here is going to create change for the better,” Moore said. 

If you’re interested in volunteering on one of the City’s numerous appointive agencies (as a resident or a high school student), simply submit a Talent Bank application to the City Clerk's Office. Or, learn more about the variety of other volunteer opportunities within the City by visiting the Office of Volunteer Resources

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