From the White House to the Capitol Building, to boardrooms and city halls, young people are often left out of the decisions that most affect them.
That’s why, 14 years old, Christopher J. Suggs founded Kinston Teens in October of 2014. Already a recognized voice and representative of youth in his community, he started Kinston Teens as an effort to amplify the voices of all of the youth of Kinston, and to create civic engagement and community service opportunities for his peers.
With a population of only around 21,000, Kinston, North Carolina has been ranked among the highest in North Carolina for violent crimes. Throughout 2014, our city experienced over 61 reported shootings with the average age of victims and offenders in these shootings being 21 years old. Needless to say, this issue affects our city’s young people. Chris recognized this, and worked to combat it by providing positive alternatives for our community’s youth though volunteerism.
In the short time that Kinston Teens has been active, it has worked hard to include young people in the efforts to better our community. Kinston Teens has organized award-winning leadership development initiatives, and has been recognized on local, state, national and global platforms for its efforts. Since 2014, Kinston Teens has made an impact on the lives of over 1,300 youth through our membership efforts, Youth Summit, community workshops, volunteer initiatives, leadership development seminars, and programs and assemblies at local schools.
Kinston Teens is proud to have had such measurable success in a considerably short amount of time. We’re grateful for the support we’ve had from our community, and look forward to continuing our efforts to improve our great city!
Our organization works towards:
- Empowering our city’s youth through community service, leadership, and civic engagement.
- Properly addressing issues affecting the youth of Kinston and educating the general public on these issues.
- Providing review and comment to elected officials, local businesses, and other decision-makers in the City regarding public issues, projects, plans, and proposals that impact youth in our city.
- Planning, organizing, and participating in community service projects and positive events and activities involving Kinston’s youth.
- Working with the Mayor, City Council, City Departments, Chamber of Commerce, City & County Commissions, schools, civic clubs, and community organizations to create and promote civic engagement opportunities for Kinston’s youth.
- Ensuring that all youth in our community are afforded quality educations, and have access to programs to succeed in their academic life – high school and beyond.
- Through our work, providing youth with the tools and resources needed to become productive citizens – locally and globally!
The mission of Kinston Teens is to serve and improve the Kinston community by promoting youth community service, leadership, and civic engagement; forming and strengthening relationships between our city’s youth and our local government, schools, and other established institutions; and providing young people with the educational tools and resources needed to succeed in their schools, communities and beyond!
Quotes from our members…
“Without Kinston Teens, I would probably be sitting in the house all day – or on the streets doing worse. But instead, I’m making a positive difference in my community. I feel involved, and I feel like I can make a lasting impact on the city of Kinston.”
“I want to be a Kinston Teens member because it’s time for a change in our city, and I want to be a part of helping that change come. Kinston is such a great place and I think that people speak bad about it because they only hear about the negative. Everything around here isn’t bad. There are so many great opportunities for the people and I would like to help people old and young to realize that Kinston is a magnificent place to live.”
“I think that the Kinston Teens program is excellent for the community. I love what our organization does, and all of the opportunities that we have. I am excited about helping our community and bringing everyone together!”