Young Americans Blog

Tales from Towne: Continuing the Legacy of “Father of Lakewood”

By: Latia Henderson Published: November 10th, 2015

Approved_Mayor KaydenThe grandson of “Father of Lakewood” was the recent Mayor in Young AmeriTowne!  James Jeff “Jim” Richey is known as the “Father of Lakewood” for his push to create what is now the state’s fifth-largest city — and then serving as its first mayor from 1969 – 1977.  His grandson, Kayden, a 5th grader at Southmoor Elementary, is now following in his grandfather’s footsteps.

Last Friday morning, Mayor Kayden woke up with butterflies in his stomach. “Mom, I need help preparing my speech for my constituents today!” Kayden exclaimed as he dressed in his business professional cloths, preparing to serve as the real-life Mayor of Young AmeriTowne, following the legacy of his grandfather, Jim Richey.

The Mayor role is a part of Towne Hall, the center of Young AmeriTowne’s government. Once citizens vote on and enact laws for their Day in Towne, Towne Hall is responsible for upholding them, issuing citations, collecting fines, and reviewing cases of dispute in court. Towne Hall also issues licenses for each business and coordinates community philanthropic activities. Mayor Kayden also had the big role of facilitating the opening ceremony. A ribbon-cutting ceremony and swearing-in of elected government leaders which marks the official Towne opening.

Kayden explains, “I had no idea how much work this would be! There is so much work to do. I’ve barely had anytime to even shop around Towne! Before my teacher taught me the curriculum I had no idea how to write a check. I also really enjoyed that I got to learn how to use money better. My all-time highlight of the day has been enforcing the laws just as my grandfather used to do. This has been a great day!”

At Young Americans, we believe teachers are the best teachers, which is why we partner with school districts to deliver our curriculum before students experience Young AmeriTowne. As you can see, it made the difference in Kayden’s experience. Young Americans brings the real world to the classroom through its time-tested and award winning curriculum. The real-life experiences that they learn will empower them to proper in today’s changing economy.

We are also very fortunate that we have the continued support of the City of Lakewood!  Since the founding of Young AmeriTowne at Belmar in 2005, the City of Lakewood been a dedicated partner of Young Americans!  Learn more about Young AmeriTowne.

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