It’s a visionary idea for a small town like Roseboro, one with great potential to bring young people back to the area they now call home.
And it all can be attributed to forward-thinking by town leaders like Mayor David Alexander and commissioner Roland Hall who took the bold step to try out-of-the-box thinking spurred by the N.C. Rural Development Center’s New Generation Initiative.
That initiative targets community youth, inspiring them to get involved with government in myriad ways, including sharing ideas and motivating them to become entrepreneurs, bringing their talents and their business ideas back to Roseboro.
The pot is sweetened by the opportunity to apply for — and potentially receive — grants to help with the process, creating job opportunities and ensuring growth of a town now fearful it will be abandoned once a rerouted N.C. 24 loops around Roseboro.
Alexander and Hall are teaming with Lakewood High School’s Student Government Association, a school organization that has taken on a new and much more vibrant life of late, to move the idea forward, and students there have latched on to it with an excitement that shows just how much promise the idea truly has.
Lakewood, whose students have taken a proactive approach to so much about their education lately, seems the ideal place for such an initiative to get off the ground and work as it is supposed to. With students eager to take a firm grasp of opportunities directed their way, we’ve no doubt Roseboro leaders will be pleased with both the response and the ideas that young people have for invigorating the town.
It’s exactly what is needed in Roseboro, where many proactive steps have been taken of late to improve the town’s appearance, bring new businesses into its fold and invite the public to be a part.
Adding the perspective of young people can only add the exclamation point. It could, in fact, be the cherry atop the sundae, bringing with it not just fresh new ideas but the potential to lure young people back to town once they’ve completed two-year or four-year degrees, completed military training or decided they want to go directly to work.
Town officials have always wanted to see youth return to their community, they’ve just not found the right lure.
The New Generation Initiative just might be it. Getting young people involved now, while they are still in high school, can only assist in the process, offering them a seat at the table, so to speak, and a voice in matters that impact the town.
Alexander sees it as a way of involving all area youth, encouraging them to get involved.
We agree. More often than not, if young people know their ideas are wanted and will be used, they’ll come forward. And what they have to say is often eye-opening and awe-inspiring. And it has the potential to open doors that will bring more younger citizens back to Roseboro in the years to come.
It’s what’s needed to ensure that this vibrant small town remains so no matter how far N.C. 24 is removed from its door.
We applaud Alexander, Hall, Lakewood school officials and, most especially, the young people, for turning an idea into a positive approach that we are certain will have positive results.