DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA) – “It’s really student-led. It’s what they want to do, how they want to impact our community,” Temethia Joyner, the program facilitator, said.

A community that one day those students could be running.

That’s why one organization in Our Town Decatur wants to teach them the value of being a leader and giving back.

“Backpack attack where we gave kids in August at the Y a backpack filled with school supplies. Farm to fund event. There was a dinner, and people helped serve. CASA Christmas where we collected a bunch of gifts, food drives, and we help out at kitchens, book drives. I can’t really think of everything,” Abionna Tertocha, the secretary on the executive board, said.

That’s because as a senior in High School, she’s already been a part of countless events and projects aimed at giving back to the Decatur community.

So many, that she can’t remember them all and it’s all because of young leaders in action.

The program has only been around for 3 years in Decatur. But Joyner said it’s important to get students outside of their comfort zones and giving back.

“This is their community, they will be running it soon, and so it’s important for them to take part in the grassroots part of it. Be connected with community members, nonprofit organizations, and then take ownership of the work that takes place,” she said.

And having a voice in what goes on in Our Town Decatur.

“I think it’s important because we’re youth led and we can have a different view point than what the adults do. Adults run most things, and I think it’s important to have youth who can say things,” Tertocha said.

Watching the students take charge and take action is what Joyner said it’s all about.

“If we can just get out of their way, they do the best work. I mean, they really do great work in our community. So, just very proud of them,” Joyner said.

As for the students they said they love it.

“It just like makes you want to do more, and after you do it once, and people are so excited, it just makes you want to keep doing more,” Tertocha said.

Young Leaders in Action is actually open to any student in any high school in Macon County.

So, keep an eye out for these students giving back and supporting Our Town Decatur.