By Taelor Rye
Misty Winter, director of the Eastman Youth Development Campus (YDC), and Kiwarren Reese, regional volunteer coordinator from the central office in Atlanta, visited the Eastman City Council at its March 27 meeting to discuss updates to the program and to request community involvement.
Winter began by discussing the changes that have taken and continue to take place at the YDC, stating that, over the past three to four months, the center has been transitioning into more of a vocational and educational building “geared toward reentry services.” Specifically, Winter noted that the center is adding programs for culinary arts, medical coding and billing, horticulture and Microsoft Office suite, among others.
Barbering is set to start April 1, and the YDC is looking into partnering with the aviation school for other options. In the meantime, Winter added that the center is looking for instructors for auto tech and construction.
The YDC also holds soft-skill group sessions concerning topics such as tying a tie and holding mock interviews “to better prepare them for the outside world,” according to Winter.
Winter also stated, “It’s a pleasure to see them grasping the things that we instill in them.”
The current population of the YDC is 64 “lower-risk youth,” often in their first time at the YDC.
In addition, the YDC is looking to hold more community service learning projects, allowing the youth to give back to the community. Winter said, “This is a great community that I would like to see more involved with Eastman YDC.”
Reese noted that the YDC took some of the young men in the YDC to volunteer at the food bank in Macon.
Reese said, “My plea to the council and to the community… is to really show some support by soliciting volunteers to go out… and talk with the kids that are looked for [in the real world]… because, at some point, they’re coming home.”
Winter closed by stating that the YDC is looking for members for its advisory council, which meets quarterly, as well as correctional officers for the center.
Concerning a speed limit reduction request, Eastman City manager Jason Cobb stated that he is in talks with Eastman Police Chief Becky Sheffield and Dodge County Sheriff Lynn Sheffield to figure out a plan of action, with an expectation to finalize the plan by the next city council meeting.