They are virtually everywhere in the community: a group of energetic, creative and hard-working youth who not only learn what it means to give back, but also what it means to live meaningful and productive lives.
New Vision Youth of Kingsport is not just a local non-profit organization, it is also a volunteer program that trains young people in community service, helps to build character, and teaches successful life skills.
New Vision Youth group has been around for 13 years and consists of 62 youth (18 Dobyns-Bennett students, as well as youth from middle and elementary schools), who range in age from 14 to 17 years old. Each is active in school and in their community through such activities as sports, band, chorus, theater arts and ROTC.
The older members of New Vision (high school students) serve as mentors for the younger youth, grooming them to grow and mature into future leaders of any community they choose to reside in. It doesn't hurt that meaningful and varied volunteer service also carries weight on college and job applications.
Members of New Vision Youth give of their time and energy to many local groups: youth provide leadership every second Sunday at Bethel AME Zion Church; they staff water stations at the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure; they work with Keep Kingsport Beautiful and Fun Fest by volunteering as Trashbusters; and they assemble holiday gift baskets for the less fortunate, and sponsor and serve an annual dinner for older adults. Additionally, youth have collected and donated food and prepared gift baskets to be given to needy families within the Kingsport City School system.
Success in business, as well as personal endeavors, often depends on identifying and working with carefully chosen partners. Through collaborations and partnerships, New Vision Youth learn organizational skills, project planning and implementation from community and business leaders.
Through their partnerships with the City of Kingsport and the Chamber of Commerce, young people have assisted with Santa Train activities, passing out backpacks and wrapping paper and cleaning up after the event. While working with Keep Kingsport Beautiful, they learned first-hand about helping those affected by natural disasters when they assisted with this summer’s downtown flood cleanup. They learned “pride of place” as they participated in the Martin Luther King Jr. march and candlelight vigil, and other Black History Month events and programs.
Giving back to the community was accomplished by several different groups at various times throughout the year. Recently, youth partnered with the State Farm Auto Insurance and Nathan Vaughn as they initiated Celebrate My Drive at Dobyns-Bennett - an event designed to highlight teen driving awareness within the community.
Philanthropy is another important life skill these young people have learned as they raised money through numerous fundraisers to purchase coats and food for needy individuals, contributed to the local Friends and Neighbors Homeless program, and to Downtown Kingsport for flood relief.
“This group of youth stands with their heads held high as they share the desire to learn how to reach for and achieve their individual goals and how to work as a team to support the good of the community in which they live,” Warren Hunter stated in nominating the group for its distinguished service.
The New Vision Youth/Dobyns-Bennett students include Xena Huff, Olivia Huff, Tyrik Hale, Rashad Hunter, Miesha Horton, Payton Thompson, Brandon Pruit, LaVontae Turner, Tia Tranbarger, Sierria Jones, LaQuan Turner, Cadijah Williams, Maykalya Fullen, McKenzie Fullen, Javonte Lyons, Stefan Beco, Raven Petty and Javen Petty.