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Parks named chairman of N.C. Youth Advisory Council

From Conributed Reports

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Ricky Parks is a staunch advocate for Rocky Mount. Anyone who follows him to local businesses will quickly learn that everyone knows and respects him. A native of Rocky Mount, Parks currently serves as patrol sergeant with the Rocky Mount Police Department and has over 25 years of law enforcement experience between the Rocky Mount Police Department and the Nash County Sheriff’s Office.

A graduate of Rocky Mount Senior High School and Coastal Plain Law Enforcement Training Academy at Wilson Community College, Parks has met members of the General Assembly and other leaders, and he’s now ready to take advantage of those contacts to help youth and spread a positive message about our city.

Parks can spread that message as he takes on his most recent challenge, as chair for the NC Youth Advisory Council, appointed by Gov. Pat McCrory. “I almost fell out of my seat,” said Parks of his reaction when he received the call from McCrory’s administration.

“They told me I could be as involved as I want to be and make whatever changes I see fit.”

Parks said the main purpose of the NC Youth Advisory Council is to support the mission of the state Youth Councils, approve funding and promote civic and community projects the Youth Councils do throughout the state.

Parks said he is enthusiastic about the Youth Council’s last endeavor, a Youth Mini-Grant conference which took place one month after his appointment as chair for the Youth Advisory Council. During the conference, specific members present grant applications to the student body. The applications will then be reviewed and debated. Subsequently, a vote and a decision on whether an organization is eligible to receive the requested funding will take place. Grants are awarded annually and range from $100 to $500.

“At this conference, youth learn how to make the tough decisions at a young age. It teaches them leadership skills and allows them to make informed decisions,” said Parks.

“They are being held accountable and are being frugal with taxpayer’s dollars.”

Parks, a member of the Youth Advisory Council for two years before accepting his latest position, is ready to work on meeting his primary goal of marketing and spreading the word about the Youth Council.

“One of my biggest roles is to support and advocate the work that our youth are doing, so I need to market it,” said Parks. “At every meeting held, I plan to have elected officials, members from the General Assembly and individuals from the community so people at all levels will understand and support the positive things the majority of our youth are doing and can spread the word.”

Increasing the endowment fund to support travel and conferences for our youth leaders is another objective for Parks.

Parks does not know why he received the call to accept the role of chair and lead the remaining 19 members on the NC Youth Advisory Council, but when asked why he believes he was chosen, he said, “I hope they would say Ricky Parks has a proven history of public service, a heart and a passion for the community and a clean reputation, especially when dealing with youth and public funding.”