The Florida League of Cities has long aimed to unite municipality leaders and residents. With a new president, it will turn its focus to kids — in the form of a children’s book.
“Our goal is to ultimately create a generation of people who are more aware of the importance of local government and its positive impact on their quality of life,” said President Isaac Salver in a press release.
Salver, who has served on the Bay Harbor Islands Town Council since 1999, was elected president Saturday at the association’s annual conference in Orlando. He’ll serve a one-year term, in which the youth-centered program will be his primary priority.
The initiative, dubbed “Readers to Leaders,” will create a book geared toward pre-kindergarten to second-grade students to introduce basic concepts of how people connect with their city, Salver said. The League will also be rolling out teaching and learning resources as part of its Florida City Government Week from Oct. 21 to 27.
Before he was elected president, Salver was appointed to the League’s Board of Directors in 2003, and to its Finance & Taxation Policy Committee in 2005. He has also served as president of the Miami-Dade County League of Cities. In Bay Harbor, he was mayor for two terms and vice mayor for one.
The Florida League of Cities’ staff will work with teachers and “longtime civic education partners” to create the book, which would be published after Jan. 1. After it is published, elected officials will be given a copy to take into their local schools and read to students.
Salver, who volunteers with the Children’s Trust, says his focus on youth education stems from his personal history. His mother is a Holocaust survivor from Poland, and his father is a Cuban immigrant.
“My mother spoke three languages, but she couldn’t read a simple menu or magazine,” Salver said. “That meant she couldn’t share books with me at night or help me with my homework.”
But Salver said his parents were determined that their children were educated: “Education and books were not a priority, they were the priority.” The focus on education led the groundwork for his career in public service.
In addition to “From Readers to Leaders,” Salver said his goals are protecting local decision-making and strengthening training among municipal officers in the League.
“Working with other local leaders in our region has expanded my knowledge and given me a true appreciation for collaboration,” he said.