This holiday season we’re spotlighting some of the ways that Mecklenburg County and our partners give back to the community in a series called “What’s Your Gift?”

Members of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Youth Council are teaming up with Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department to help spread cheer this holiday season. Youth Council members are working with CMPD in organizing toy drives at 20 high schools across Mecklenburg County.

The partnership is in support of CMPD’s Explorers Christmas Project. For the last 43 years, the project has provided toys to families in need across Charlotte. “It started with 15 families and today serves over 700 families. That’s roughly 1700-2000 kids in the Charlotte area,” said Officer Ryan Botzenmayer, youth program coordinator.  “Students are coordinating the toy drive at their schools. Almost all of the high schools are participating through GenerationNation and the Charlotte Mecklenburg Youth Council,” said Officer Botzenmayer.

student from Hawthorne Academy

Essie (Hawthorne Academy)

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Youth Council (CMYC), is a youth-driven student advisory council for the City of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

CMYC high school students meet regularly to advise community leaders, represent and serve as a collective voice for young people, learn how to solve civic challenges, and join a diverse network of young civic leaders.

The toy drive runs thru December 18th.  On December 21st youth council members will pair up with CMPD officers for a ride along, to help deliver the toys to youth in the community.