IONA, Idaho - This time of year, losing sight of the season of giving and focusing on the material aspect of the holidays is all too easy, but the city of Iona is changing that by involving the youth in the City Council.
It's not often city mayors spend time with teenagers in their community, but in the city of Iona, it's a weekly gathering. The Mayor's Youth Advisory Council was started by two boys who just wanted their voices heard.
"We were sitting around one day, it was just me and Jake Berger, and we came up with the idea that we wanted the youth to get involved in what happens in city," said Austin Geray, a freshman at Bonneville High School.
The two boys decided to write a letter to the mayor, who responded by asking them to gather students to form the youth council.
"You (as an adult) don't think with the same hat on as you did when you were a youth, and sometimes they have ideas that we forget about," said Iona Mayor Brad Andersen.
President of the Mayor's Youth Advisory Council and a senior at Bonneville High School, Mikayla Vance, heard about the opportunity at school and was eager to get involved.
"Oh my gosh, I love it! I love helping out the community. It's a lot of work, but I'm willing to put anything into it," said Vance.
The students gather each week to talk about ideas to help their community. This year, they decided to host an end-of-the-year dance to have fun with friends and help those less fortunate.
"It's more than a dance. What we're trying to do is have fun; the kids have a place to go, and the other aspect of it is trying to stock the shelves of the food bank," said Andersen.
"They're going to be our leaders in the future, another 10 years when they're out of high school and college. Hopefully they'll want to be in the city council or mayor or, you know, or they'll be running a business, or hopefully they'll want to be involved in the communit," he added.
The end-of-the-year dance will be held at 3548 N. Main St. in Iona. Tickets are $5 at the door, but if attendees bring a can of food for the food drive, they will receive $1 off of admission.