As GeorgiaForward starts its second year in the GMA family, organization leaders look forward to planning the next Young Gamechangers (YG) program. This program brings young professionals from across the state together to a host community, where the YG class works alongside community stakeholders to develop proposals that tackle some of the community’s most complex and pressing issues. GeorgiaForward hopes to announce the next Host Community and open YG applications this year.
As GeorgiaForward’s flagship program, Young Gamechangers is a practical application of the nonpartisan nonprofit’s founding purpose to improve Georgia together. Each YG class is comprised of one-third participants from the host community, one-third from metro Atlanta and one-third from greater Georgia (with emphasis on including participants from as many regions as possible). In addition to leadership development and network-building, YG participants have the unique opportunity to work on of-the-moment local issues with peers who come from very different worlds within Georgia. They must practice civility, collaboration, negotiation and empathy as they flex community and economic development skills to draft their proposals.
Likewise, in 2021 GeorgiaForward is planning programming to encourage all citizens to learn more about their fellow Georgians in different corners of the state.
“Using one of our sharpest divides—the urban v. rural or Two Georgias problem—we will reframe the discussion on broadband, healthcare, housing and education by hearing what the issue looks like from a rural point of view, an urban point of view, and how to build statewide solutions,” said Brenda Belcher, GeorgiaForward managing director. “Rather than make assumptions about, dismiss or ignore citizens with different points of view, how can we seek to understand? What questions can we ask? What does it look like to hold political views tight while still meaningfully engaging with the other side?”
To learn more about any of our programming or how to get involved, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This story originally appeared in the January/February 2021 edition of Georgia’s Cities magazine.