The NAACP Youth Council, the under-25 arm of the national civil rights organization, has been vital to its parent group's mission since it was established in 1935. It was a Youth Council member who first refused to give up her bus seat in 1955, and it was another member who organzied the famous Oklahoma City sit-in in 1958.

From 2 to 5 p.m. on Oct. 5, the Atlantic City Chapter of the NAACP Youth Council will hold a Meet and Greet Cookout for prospective members and parents at 1619 Columbia Ave. in the Venice Park section of Atlantic City.

Jackie Sharpe, adviser to the Atlantic City chapter, said the cookout is a great way to introduce the group to prospective members.

"This is just a cookout for them to relax, and it's a welcoming thing," she said.

The NAACP Youth Council, like its adult counterpart, is dedicated to the advancement of economic, education, social and political status of African-Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities.

The Atlantic City chapter invites parents and kids to come by the Oct. 5 cookout to learn more about their work in the community. There will be games, an introduction of new members, and a discussion of what the group does.

Atlantic City resident Jessica Korsah, 20, joined the youth council about seven or eight years ago. She quickly moved up through its ranks, and now serves as president. A student at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, Korsah credits the organization with giving her leadership skills that have allowed her to excel in school.

"I like it a lot," Korsah said. "We're able to network with different people. We go to different workshops, and that's pretty fun."

In addition to the youth council's monthly meetings, members volunteer at places such as the FoodBank of New Jersey and attend board of education and city council meetings to learn about the inner workings of city government and the educational system.

The group also serves as a mouthpiece for Atlantic City youth of all races to help them fight the injustices they see in school and on the streets. In the past, the group was successful in getting textbooks with pictures of African-Americans into the schools and encouraging them to incorporate Black History Month into curricula.

Now, the 40-member youth council is helping plan the NAACP's New Jersey State Conference, which take place Oct. 10-12 at Bally's Atlantic City. Members of the Atlantic County chapter joined others from the region in organizing seminars, Korsah said.

Membership in the NAACP Youth Council offers many benefits, Sharpe said, so she encourages those interested to stop by the cookout and take a look.

"It's an organization that makes them a better person, it makes them a better citizen," Sharpe said. "It helps them, probably, to fulfill their dreams, and it gives them self-esteem."

The Atlantic City Chapter of the NAACP Youth Council meets at 6:30 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month at Jethro Memorial Presbyterian Church.

Contact Braden Campbell:

609-272-7415

If you go

What:

Meet and Greet Cookout sponsored by Atlantic City NAACP Youth Council

When:

2-5 p.m. Oct. 5

Where:

1619 Columbia Ave., Venice Park

How much:

Free

More info:

Call Jackie Sharpe at 609-345-2725