BELPRE - The Belpre Area Chamber of Commerce is encouraging youth involvement in their communities with the creation of a youth chamber.
"One of the things we have seen is our teens and young adults aren't getting involved in service organizations and programs and are not giving back to their community," said Kathy Gramkow with the Belpre Area Chamber of Commerce.
The goal is to have between 10 and 15 students to commit to the program.
"We are taking volunteers and allowing teachers in Belpre High School to recommend students who wouldn't normally volunteer for something like this but would make excellent additions to the program," Gramkow said. "Teachers see leaders when kids don't."
Through their participation with the youth chamber, Gramkow said they hope to give the youth an understanding of how to be involved in a community.
"We want to give the youth an appreciation to work with organizations and businesses and get an understanding that they are able to do positive things in their community," Gramkow said.
A need of the youth organization is to let the younger generation to have a place to express their thoughts, Gramkow said.
"We want this to be a place for them to enhance their leadership skills," Gramkow said. "The goal is to give them the groundwork to be involved and let them understand that what they say and do matters."
One of the ways the Belpre Area Youth Chamber will accomplish that is by giving the members a way to related to their community.
"We will be focusing on several areas to help the students reach the goals they set for themselves as well as the goals we want for them," Gramkow said.
One of those is to give them a service project, which has been chosen as the "Little Free Libraries."
This project will have the members looking for and finding grants to fund these boxes that serve as neighborhood book exchanges.
"This will also teach them how to work with businesses and organizations as they work to build these little libraries," Gramkow added.
The group will also have mentorships with the Belpre Area Chamber of Commerce members where the adults will take on youth and do career development with them as well as leadership training within the chamber organization.
The group will work with The Right Path, which engages youth in positive activities to foster healthy development and get them to feel involved in their community through service.
The members will also be involved in the chamber's largest community program, Belpre Homecoming, which will celebrate 81 years this coming August.
"We want to show the kids their value and that they are an asset to the community," Gramkow said.