Local teen wants Mayor Leeser's help bringing youth program back
El Paso, TX (KTSM) — A local teen wants El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser's help bringing back a youth program she says changed her life and the lives of many others in the city.
Former Mayor John Cook's "Top 100 Teens" program was thrown out once he left office and 18 year old Mikaela Chaides is fighting to bring it back.
"In Mayor Leeser's defense, I'm not going to criticize him for not continuing the program in his first year as mayor because he had a lot of other things he had to deal with," said former Mayor John Cook.
"We hear so much about the bad things teens do and we need to highlight what the good teens do and this was a great program and for us to be ambassadors of our city," said Mikaela.
Mikaela is a remarkable young woman - the high school senior is an honor student and has completed more than 300 hours of community service.
"I've always been very active in school and I just thought it would be a good idea to spread out and see what I could do for my community," she said.
Mikaela was one of Mayor Cook's "Top 100 Teens" during her sophomore and junior years at Ysleta High School, and like her fellow teens, she was recognized for her public service and mentored to become a role model to her peers.
"There were ways for those kids to give before the Mayor's 100 Teens program and they're still there. So, just find it and like I say, if you can't, give me a call and I'll find one for you because I know where they are," said Mayor Cook.
But Mikaela and her friends want the program back because she says it gives teens a platform to put others before themselves and become leaders in their community.
She remains optimistic that Mayor Leeser will pick up where they left off.
"We have a lot of faith in Mayor Leeser because he's such a good boy," said Mikaela.
The teen says she is getting ready to apply for college with her letters of recommendation in hand - one of which was written by Mayor Cook.
She hopes to be a doctor and speech pathologist one day.
NewsChannel 9 reached out to Mayor Leeser's office about why the "Top 100 Teens" program was discontinued and his staff said he is currently looking into other options.