Mount Pleasant Town Hall is buzzing with anticipation for plans and projects after securing a third All-America City Award. The town has now won the prestigious award three times (2010, and 2018) which is the most of any municipality in the Palmetto State.
In early 2023, a team of town staff members began the lengthy process of applying for the designation while emphasizing community programs and accomplishments that coincide with the theme, “Creating Thriving Communities through Youth Engagement.” Mount Pleasant Youth Council was the perfect way to introduce the town’s mission to invest in our future leaders. The program empowers youth to serve their communities, develop leadership skills and grow to be engaged, responsible citizens. The next step was to bring the application to life. A delegation of community members, town hall staff members and town leaders traveled to Denver to showcase how Mount Pleasant embodies what it means to be an All-America City. The group represented how the people of our town are intertwined to create a strong community.
To share our community’s unique identity, the town participated in the Cultural Showcase which highlighted our Gullah traditions and history. A sweetgrass basket maker and a Gullah storyteller made guests feel like they were exploring a basket stand along Highway 17 in the South Carolina Lowcountry. The most significant component of the competition was a 10-minute presentation that the delegation gave in front of a panel of judges.
The town highlighted the work of local nonprofit Just Bee and restaurant Migliori’s Pizzeria. Both organizations work towards expanding inclusivity and positive experiences for families and individuals who are neurodivergent. The founder and CEO of Just Bee, Layla Luna, along with Don and Joanne Migliori, and advocates Debbie and Frankie Antonelli, joined Team Mount Pleasant on the Denver stage to share their mission of weaving inclusivity into the workforce and business community.
The next story focused on an array of law enforcement programs designed to build relationships between community members, particularly young ones, and police. The town’s loyal School Resource Officers (SROs) create lasting bonds with Mount Pleasant students while our Police Explorers and Community Service Officers (CSO) engage with and assist the public and our law enforcement officers. The authenticity and dedication of the Mount Pleasant Police Department make the town a safe community to live, work, play and raise a family. MPPD Chief Tyrone Simmons, who has been involved with these programs from a young age, SRO Mulern Jean, along with a current CSO and prospective MPPD Officer, Matt Iannuzzi, shared how the programs weave bonds of trust in the community.
The final segment of the presentation shared the story of the Shipman family. In the nearly seven years since the opioid epidemic claimed the life of 19-year-old Creighton Shipman, the Shipman family has been fighting to save lives through their nonprofit, Wake Up Carolina. The Shipmans wrapped up the presentation by showing the judges how the family is weaving light into dark.
Community members and town leaders were hopeful that months of preparation for the competition would earn the town its third All-America City designation and it did. The community proved that all the pieces and people of the town fit together to create something extraordinary… a lot like a sweetgrass basket.
By Katie Augustine