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Statesboro earns Visionary City award from GMA
Visionary City
From the Visionary City Awards luncheon on January 28 held during the annual GMA Cities United Summit in Atlanta, pictured L-R: Jonathan McCollar (Mayor), Dr. LaSara Mitchell (Village Builders), Dr. Kristina Patterson (Statesboro Youth Commission), Tangie Johnson (Statesboro Youth Commission), Phil Boyum (City Councilmember), Lakesha Hill (Statesboro Youth Commission), Shari Barr (City Councilmember), Larry Hanson (GMA).

The Georgia Municipal Association and Georgia Trend Magazine honored the City of Statesboro last week with a 2024 Visionary City Award.

The award was presented at the GMA’s Cities United Summit Jan. 28 in Atlanta in recognition of Statesboro’s innovative Village Builders Initiative, a program dedicated to addressing and easing resource deficits in underserved areas of the city.

“Being recognized as a visionary city amongst the 536 cities represented by the Georgia Municipal Association is a testament to the groundbreaking, significant work we’re doing right here in Statesboro,” Mayor Jonathan McCollar said. “Our youth are the residents, leaders, and business owners of tomorrow. It is our duty as a city to ensure that they are equipped with the tools they need to be engaged, contributing members of our community. I am confident that we will continue to reap the benefits of the work we’re doing now for decades to come.”

Awarded in the “Large Cities Category,” Statesboro's Village Builders Initiative made access to essential resources like health care, education and employment opportunities in identified "villages" within the city much easier. The initiative includes resource day events, financial literacy workshops, mentorship pairings and the Leading by Reading Literacy Program

Larry Hanson, CEO and executive director of GMA, said, “The Visionary City Awards highlight the transformative impact of initiatives like Statesboro’s Village Builders Initiative. Their commitment to resource allocation and community empowerment is exemplary in addressing the challenges of underserved populations.”

“We are humbled to have the work we’ve completed for Statesboro’s youth and families recognized on the state level,” says Dr. LaSara Mitchell, Statesboro Village Builders coordinator. “This feat would not be possible without the support of the Statesboro City Council and the collaborative efforts of the Statesboro Youth Commission and Statesboro Youth Council. Statesboro Village Builders is blessed to have volunteers from all walks of life contributing to our programming, event staffing, and future planning. It definitely ‘takes a village.”

Statesboro Village Builders started in January 2023 by the City of Statesboro’s Youth Commission and Mayor McCollar in collaboration with community stakeholders. Village Builders aims to be a community-wide youth development program that offers a comprehensive approach to ensure that all youth in Statesboro and their families have support in becoming the best version of themselves.

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