The Rapidian

Teens to attend town hall youth summit

Conference gives teens a chance to discuss important issues such as substance abuse.
Underwriting support from:

The Youth Summit is designed to...

  • engage youth in being visible, valuable and vocal about underage substance use prevention efforts in Kent County
  • champion the voices and engagement of youth in the work of underage substance use prevention
  • understand the underage substance use issues in Kent County
  • engage youth as investors in the health and wellness of Kent County
  • Develop leadership skills and talents
  • build relationships and friendships with teens from across the country, state, and region
  • create opportunities for youth to engage community leaders and elected officials

/Courtesy of Kent County Prevention Coalition

/Courtesy of Kent County Prevention Coalition

By Akilah F.

This April, different Grand Rapids city leaders and youth organizations such as the Mayor's Youth Council, Girls Scouts of America, and local middle and high school students in the community put together a youth summit that is hosted every year at Devos Place. The Town Hall Youth Summit is a two day conference sponsored by the Kent County Prevention Coalition's (KCPC) "Above the Influence Kent County" initiative that has also joined with Kids Speak this year. The name of the event is "Live Out Loud Youth Summit - Kids Speak" and will be held on April 27th and 28th.

Formed in 2006, the KCPC is a team of community organizations including Kent County public health agencies, public and private schools, nonprofits, neighborhood associations, and business and community members. While member organizations come from varied sectors, all share a genuine concern for improving the health and well-being of the community, especially youth. The goal of this program is to reduce underage alcohol use and reduce heavy drinking among adults, use of marijuana and identifying substance abuse trends among vulnerable populations.

According to the website, the summit is designed to encourage middle and high school youth to think critically about their personal choices and future ambitions, as well as emerging community health and wellness trends related to underage substance use and misuse. The Live Out Loud Youth Summit celebrates the power that teens have, individually and collectively, to impact peers, family and communities by making a personal commitment to live above the influence.

Joyce Johnson, 18, of Our Community's Children and the Mayor's Youth Council expressed her feelings about her community involvement saying that the youth summit "helps us come together to make better decisions as a whole. This is my third year of this experience and I love it."

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