Press release from Mars Hill College, shared Feb. 20:

An “Action Team” of young people from Mars Hill and surrounding communities is currently meeting to accomplish community improvement projects in the Mars Hill area, using $20,000 in grant monies received last fall from the North Carolina Rural Center.

The team, called Youth Empowering Leaders and Professionals, meets each Thursday at 6 p.m. at Mars Hill College in Marshbanks Hall, room 203. Young people from the Mars Hill area, aged 16 to 30, are invited to join the group.

The grant, called a New Generation Leaders Grant, is designed to counter current population trends. According to the NC Rural Center, young people tend to move to urban centers when they graduate from college, because career opportunities are greatest there. The grant program aims to encourage young people to become involved and invested for the long term in their rural communities.

Project Coordinator Miranda Stephens said: “The ideas under consideration right now fall under improving communication, aesthetics, business and recreation in the town of Mars Hill. For example, we might use some funds to improve the trail on Bailey Mountain. Other examples could include putting murals in downtown Mars Hill, improving recycling efforts and helping to fund some purchases that might increase youth interest in the downtown businesses.”

According to Stephens, the primary goal is to get youth excited about and invested in being members of the Mars Hill community.

“If any of these ideas sound interesting you should come to our meetings, and help make it happen,” she said.

At present, the action team involves students in the Mars Hill College Rotaract Club and the Madison High School Interact Club. Both clubs are associated with Rotary. Future members need not be members of these clubs.

For more information, contact Miranda Stephens at (828) 803-3982, email the action team at [email protected], or learn more on Facebook at

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Angie Newsome was the executive director and editor of Wmforo. Contact her at (828) 774-5290 or e-mail her at [email protected].

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