The Mayor of Atlanta Puts Young People First

Skye talks with Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens in his office. 

“My overall goal is that the City of Atlanta becomes the best place in the United States to raise a family,” says Mayor Andre Dickens about the capital of Georgia.

Dickens, who began his four-year term as mayor in 2022, grew up in Atlanta. I recently spoke with him about his chief objectives for this city of nearly 500,000 people. His focus, he said, is on youth. For that reason, he declared 2023 the Year of the Youth. He wants to empower kids below the age of 25 in all areas, including education and employment, so that they can reach their full potential.

“Everything we do, we have to think about young people,” Dickens said. “Atlanta’s young people are our future. Continuing to invest in future generations puts them on pathways to success that will help us move Atlanta forward together.”


“I’m a product of Atlanta public schools,” Mayor Dickens tells Skye.  


Dickens said that after he announced the Year of the Youth, Businesses, nonprofits, religious community members all said, ‘I want to be in on that.’”

One major component of the initiative is the summer internship program. It allows students in Atlanta to gain valuable eperiences in the workplace. Mayor Dickens explained that several businesses in the city have agreed to make their work environments suitable for young people to participate in internships. 

Improving education is another key goal. “I’m a product of Atlanta public schools,” Dickens said. 

School and city leaders have been working together to strengthen their partnership in the service of young people. “I really am committed to making sure we have a great relationship,” the Mayor said.

Toward that end, the city is working to improve educational opportunities, create safe routes to school, and offer after-school enrichment activities for free or at little cost.

Dickens also believes that it’s important to invest in early education. The Mayor’s Summer Reading Club is working with Atlanta kids between the ages two and five to build their literacy and vocabulary skills.

“Infancy matters to me,” Dickens said. Investing in early education, he explained, means that more young people will be able to cultivate foundational skills, thus preventing them from falling behind later in life.  

Dickens is looking forward to positive results. “Everyone’s getting ready to serve the young folks over the summer,” he said. 


Photos courtesy of the author