GREENWOOD, S.C. (WSPA) – Greenwood leaders are working to target crime and get teens involved in local government.

“I want to give our youth a seat at the table,” said Mayor Brandon Smith.

Applications are now open for the city’s first Mayor’s Youth Council.

“You learn about civics, you learn about local government, you learn about healthcare, industry, and how Greenwood plays into the global economy,” said Smith.

Mayor Smith said the council will give a voice to young students. He also said it’s an opportunity for them to share their perspective and help tackle community goals like how to grow Greenwood and keep recent graduates in the area.

“We are not unique in a lot of our problems, but what we we’re trying to be is unique in our solution to those problems,” said Smith.

He also hopes to address issues like crime. Mayor Smith said young men ages 17 to 26 are commonly involved in violence in the city.

“I want to understand from their perspective, the pressures that they’re facing and ways that we can do better to keep Greenwood safe from violence,” said Smith.

He believes the council will provide a positive outlet.

“I think our youth, they all want to be a part of something,” said Smith.

Mayor Smith said they plan to have two students representing each city council ward and six at-large members on the youth council. 10th, 11th, and 12th graders in Greenwood District 50 and nearby private schools can apply to join.

Students will serve their term through May. The deadline to apply for the youth council is August 31, 2022.