Informed youth leadership is in high demand. Hallmarks of purposeful programs for youth cultivate youth voice and engage students in activities that make a tangible impact on the community. In it’s 21st year, the Student Leadership Initiative will tackle the complex theme of Social Justice. Be The Change You Want to See: Achieving Social Justice Through Leadership and Advocacy. Hosts from the Academy of Health Sciences at Prince George Community College will plan and facilitate a 4 day experience in and around Washington, DC, which will highlight youth voice and engage students in efforts to reach out to Congressional leaders to support their educational needs and aspirations.
The conference will provide two forums for a national conversation on Social Justice that is the culmination of a year’s work in local schools. Research and projects addressing high priority issues such as bullying, racial profiling, poverty and the environment, human trafficking and equity in education will take place in artistic presentations throughout the conference. Students will showcase original plays, photography, videos and art work which were developed as a result of their research and conviction.
Organizers of the Conference also wanted to take advantage of the DC location and make a political statement about the benefits and impact made by Middle and Early Colleges and Dual Enrollment programs for high school students. Each school team will be meeting with a member of Congress or staff to advocate for support of local legislation that supports or expands opportunities for college access for underserved youth in high school. Coming from the experience of what early college exposure can mean in changing their own lives, who better could address the need to make such opportunities available to more of their peers. Benefitting from the support that MCNC schools provide for their students, who would be better spokesmen and women for proclaiming these schools and their practices as roadmaps for success.
The Conference will also provide students will an opportunity to visit National museums, monuments and the halls of Congress and will end in a celebratory dinner dance.
To get a taste of the power of youth, visit: “Walk With the Dreamers” a film based on last year’s event in Columbus, Ohio.