City Empowers Youth Through Goodwill’s Hype Up Your Summer Program

The City of Valdosta hosted Goodwill’s Hype Up Your Summer Youth Program, providing participants with an in-depth look at the inner workings of various City departments on Thursday, June 27. The program’s agenda included educational presentations, site visits and direct interactions with City leadership, offering valuable insights into the functioning of local government and potential career paths for the youth.

Participants began their day at the Water Treatment Plant, where they received presentations from Phillip Walker, the water treatment plant superintendent; Charles Browning, the assistant plant superintendent; and Brian Sunbom, a water laboratory analyst. They shared their knowledge on water treatment processes and the importance of maintaining a safe and reliable water supply.

The students then visited the Traffic Management Center, where they heard from Traffic Manager Bo Bewley and staff from the Traffic Signs and Markings and Traffic Signals divisions. These sessions provided a comprehensive overview of the City’s efforts to maintain and improve traffic flow and safety.

Chandra McAllister, the community sustainability coordinator, presented at the Five Points Recycling Center, educating the participants about the City’s recycling initiatives and the importance of sustainability in community planning.

The day’s activities concluded with a tour of the Valdosta-Lowndes Regional Crime Lab, where students gained a unique perspective on the role of forensic science in law enforcement.

The program’s graduation ceremony was held on Friday, June 28 morning, marking the culmination of a week of learning and exploration. Mayor Matheson was recognized during the ceremony for his unwavering support of the program, which plays a crucial role in inspiring the next generation of leaders.

“We are proud to support programs like Hype Up Your Summer that engage and educate our youth about the vital functions of local government,” said Mayor Scott James Matheson. “These experiences are invaluable in helping young people discover potential career paths and understand the importance of community service.”

Assistant City Manager Catherine Ammons echoed this sentiment, stating, "It's essential for our youth to see firsthand the variety of careers available within their local government. Programs like this ignite their passion and curiosity, guiding them toward future success."

For more information, please contact Marketing/Community Relations Manager Sharah' Denton at