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Young Emerging Leaders want to find their voice while giving back to Greater Port Arthur

The Young Emerging Leaders spent Saturday picking up trash on Pleasure Island.

The group collected nearly a dozen bags worth of trash in an effort to help beautify the community, YEL chair Cole Michalk said.

“We had seen a need to clean up,” he said. “We went out there and got everything together. We got with the city and some local people from the area and picked up some trash.”

“We are, kind of, a new group in the Port Arthur area,” said Michalk, who recently was named chair for the organization. “We are a real informative group. All of us are under 40. We are just trying to better the community and find ways to do that. We are always looking for volunteer opportunities.”

According to YEL’s charter, the groups looks to “develop Port Arthur and the Golden Triangle area’s future leaders by providing ambitious young emerging leaders with the opportunity to build relationships, further develop themselves as professionals and/or entrepreneurs, serve the community, and engage with business, civic and political leaders.”

The 2021-2022 YEL Board includes Michalk, vice chair Sharita Gardner, secretary Jenna Worthy, membership director Daniel Cruz and communication specialist Angela Benoit.

Michalk said the group meets monthly and is always looking for new members.

“It is a great group, and I am happy to be the new chair for this year,” Michalk said.

Michalk, who is from Beaumont and lives in Vidor, learned about the group from his job as the district director for State Sen. Brandon Creighton.

“I am very active in the community and I fell in love with the group,” he said. “Now, I am here today as the chair. I believe that we are the future of this area. I am from this area and grew up in this area. I moved away and came back. It has a little place in my heart. A lot of people see the potential in this area and what it has to offer.”

Those looking to join the Young Emerging Leaders can do so by contacting the Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce at 409-963-1107

The group currently has 38 members, and Michalk said he is looking forward to expanding.

“Last year was a tough year for the group as it was for many,” he said. “We are going to come into 2021 with a bang. We are still growing as a group. We might be doing more and more with time.”

Michalk said the group does not have anymore cleanup events planned for the near future, but said they are constantly looking for new ways to help.