Richland 101, a free course on the basics of Richland County Government, kicked off this week with a group of high school students among the cross-section of people from the community.
Teens from the ELEVATIONS Youth Development Outreach Center in Hopkins joined retirees, married couples, a family with young children and business owners in the class at the Richland County Administration Building. Charla Simons, the director of the non-profit in Lower Richland, enrolled the teens so they could experience a real-life civics lesson.
“I attended the last Richland 101 class and I totally enjoyed it,” Simons said. “I learned so much and I want them to learn as well.”
Along with other members of the class, the teens took notes and asked questions following a greeting from County Administrator Tony McDonald on Monday and presentations on economic development, finances and the Transportation Penny. Thursday night featured presentations from the County assessor, auditor and treasurer.
Richland 101 runs through March and will cover a range of topics. Attendees also will visit several County facilities, including the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center, the Court House and the Jim Hamilton-LB Owens Airport. The course will culminate with a tour of Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, one of several millage agencies funded by County taxpayers.
The first night of Richland 101 ended with a ride on a bus from The COMET transit system, which is partially funded by the County’s Transportation Penny Program. Tiffany James, a community outreach coordinator for The COMET presented information about the system. But it was clear what many in the class really wanted was to get aboard the big, pink vehicle. “Let’s ride,” James said and led the group outside where The COMET awaited.