Weathering Storms, a Pandemic & the Mayor Who is Still Standing Strong For the Community 

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Karleigh Quinn, Teen Freelance Writer

Teen Freelance Writer (Karleigh Quinn)

Weathering Storms, a Pandemic & the Mayor Who is Still Standing Strong For the Community 

 

The past few years have greatly impacted many people in the Leland area. From hurricane Florence to the Covid pandemic, Brenda Bozman has been in the mayoral office for it all. Her last term began in 2019, right after hurricane Florence, and her campaign at the time focused primarily on helping to rebuild the lives, buildings, and community of Leland. Up until this point, changing building codes and getting ready for the next major weather event were the most important topics on the agenda for Leland. This all changed in late December of 2019, as news of the Covid-19 pandemic began to sweep the nation. 

The pandemic caused a lot of stress to every member of the Leland community and it led to a lot of negative mental health effects, along with a decrease in productive education and connection with neighbors and friends. When asked if Leland was prepared for the mental health crisis this would cause, Mayor Bozman responded “I do not think anybody was. We did our best to participate and do what needed to be done. But it was kinda difficult because most of our staff was at home.” While the pandemic greatly affected the workforce, it completely changed the look of education. Classrooms went from being welcoming, nurturing spaces to classes being taught through zoom entirely overnight. Many teachers and leaders were completely unprepared for this change, leaving productivity and learning behind as they tried to navigate how to connect with their students from behind the screen. 

Even today, Leland is a very rapidly growing community, with new homes and developments going up every day. With this rapid growth comes more teens, and the need for more entertainment. Mayor Bozeman describes how the 2045 plan can help to alleviate some of the stress that these factors would have brought to the community. While this plan affects all of Leland, she is adamant about teens having a spot at the table. By providing a youth leader on their committee and giving teens the opportunity to bring their interests to the Leland area, this plan is an impactful way to let teens see how their visions make a difference. 

     Mayor Bozeman hopes that the expansion of areas for activity and gathering can help better the community’s mental health and overall sense of community in general. It has already helped to bring recreational activities to the area, such as gyms, indoor pickleball, and walking trails. She also believes that getting out and talking to people is a very important part of her job. One of her favorite community events is the movies/concert nights in the park. When she attends community events, she explains how much joy she finds in the people that shape Leland. She expressed, “I love my family, the town is my family too.” 

Overall, Mayor Bozman plans to help positively impact the teens in her community through expanding mental health resources, education, building safety, and recreational activities. This is a plan that I, and I’m sure all teens and the community as a whole can proudly stand behind!