Mandan News

Mayor meets with third graders

Mandan's mayor, Arlen Van Beek, met with third graders at Lewis and Clark Elementary on April 1 to discuss the role the mayor plays in the city. (photo by Dustin White)

Mandan’s mayor, Arlen Van Beek, met with third graders at Lewis and Clark Elementary on April 1 to discuss the role the mayor plays in the city. (photo by Dustin White)

By Dustin White
Mandan News, editor

Joining more than 1,750 mayors from across the United States, Mandan’s own Arlen Van Beek participated in the second annual Mayors Day of Recognition for National Service, which was held on April 1.

Mayor Van Beek spent the day visiting third grade classes at Lewis and Clark Elementary School. As part of the visit, Van Beek answered questions from the students, and explained his duties as being mayor. The visit was rounded out with Van Beek reading a story to each class.

During the visit, Van Beek emphasized the need for volunteering. By detailing the work of the the city commission, he connected it with their own life.

“When we make decisions, we try to base them on today, as well as tomorrow,” said Van Beek.

Throughout the visit, each class was enthusiastic towards their guest speaker. Van Beek kept the students engaged in the discussion by not only fielding questions, but asking questions himself.

A point that was stressed during the presentations was that someday, these third graders would be the generation that took over leadership positions. It would be them who would need to volunteer, and help push the city forward.

“If you stay in Mandan, you could be mayor someday,” said Van Beek. “You will be the city commissioners someday, and you will be making the decisions not only for then, but also for the future.”

It was not just in the future that these students would be able to volunteer, said Van Beek. Instead, they had the opportunity by enacting change now by helping out when they saw a need. Opportunities such as food drives were depicted as wonderful chances to give back.

While each presentation lasted a relatively short time, the impact that they could have is quite great, which is the purpose of the Mayors Day of Recognition for National Service.

“I commend all the mayors across the country for participating in this recognition effort and for working with us to improve lives and strengthen communities through national service,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation For National and Community Service.

This was the second year that Van Beek participated in the Mayors Day of Recognition for National Service. Last year, Van Beek spent the day working with the Meals on Wheels program.

“Mayor Van Beek has been really supportive of this day of recognition,” said Mary Siverson, RSVP+ director. “He has embraced the idea, and worked hard to achieve the overall goal; strengthening the community.”