The Family Resource Center of Gordon County, Prevent Child Abuse Gordon County, Inc., is sponsoring the seventh annual election for Junior Mayor of Calhoun-Gordon County. The purpose of the campaign and of the position of junior mayor is to encourage students to be leaders and make a difference in their community.
Candidates campaign in the community for votes that come in the form of $1 donations. The winner will be the candidate who collects the most votes for the Family Resource Center. All funds raised through the election process will go directly toward funding for programs at the center, which is sustained by the United Way, private donations and grants. Programming includes parenting courses, the Parents as Teachers program, the First Steps program, Family Ties, work completed through the Family Visitation Center, the Child Advocacy Center, and the Darkness to Light program, which fights against and educates the public about child sexual abuse.
In previous years, campaigns have raised more than $14,000 for the agency.
The elected junior mayor will represent the Family Resource Center at community events and parades throughout the year. The mayor-elect will also have the opportunity to take part in City Council and County Commission meetings and to learn about local government and public service from Calhoun Mayor Jimmy Palmer and Gordon County Commission Chair Becky Hood.
The candidates running for the position of junior mayor are Ja’Sarah Gray and Jillian Wood. Applications will be available until Sept. 20.
Candidate Gray is the foster child of Rebecca Lott. She is an eighth grade student at Red Bud Middle School, a member of the Beta Club and Student Council, and a member of her church choir. She also participates in her school’s drama department, loves reading books about history, and is known as the “family’s comedian.”
Gray said that she would make a good junior mayor because she wants to learn about local government, but also because she would do her best to serve and help out at the Family Resource Center.
“Preventing child abuse is a cause that is important to me because I am a foster child in the system, so I’ve seen it. It can be bad, and I want to help make a difference if I can,” Gray said. “I also attended the last city council meeting and enjoyed it a lot. I’d like to go to more and maybe one day step into the role of someone on the council.”
“Watch out, Jimmy, I’m going to take your place,” she joked about Calhoun’s long-term mayor.
The 13-year-old also said that, being in the system, opportunities can sometimes be limited. She doesn’t know where she will be from one year to the next, so she tries to take advantage of the opportunities she can. It is extra special for her when those opportunities allow her to contribute to something she believes in.
“63 out of 92 children were removed from homes in Gordon County because of neglect from June 2018 to May 2019,” Gray said. “Even if I don’t win and become junior mayor, I’m really happy that the money we are raising will still go toward fighting that.”
Those who wish to contribute to Gray’s Junior mayor campaign may do so by mailing checks to Angela White at the Family Resource Center before Oct. 28 or by placing contributions in donation jars at the Crowley Drug Company and Farmers Insurance offices. All checks should be made out to Prevent Child Abuse Gordon County with ‘Votes for Ja’Sarah Gray’ in the for line.
The Calhoun Times will speak with junior mayor candidate Jillian Wood in next Wednesday’s Gordon Life issue of the newspaper.