By Brittany Mendoza ’18
Student leaders learned some new skills on March 17 at the annual YouthBridge-NY Leaders to Leaders Youth Summit. The conference brought up some serious topics including cyberbullying, women’s rights, and gun violence which left them with new perspectives.
The conference, which is held in Manhattan, gathers high schoolers and community-based organizations from all five boroughs. Through workshops the staff trains them to find problems in their communities and make changes through the lenses of diversity.
According to the YouthBridge-NY website, “The goal of this year’s conference is to inspire young leaders to take charge by empowering them with knowledge of the possibilities, skills, and the training they need to turn ideas into action.”
Taskin Khan ’20 said, “They taught me that there are many platforms I can peacefully protest for a cause to attract attention to it.”
During the day the leaders had case study sessions with company owners who made changes of their own. They then had to ask their own questions about their communities and how they could make changes. After these there were skill building sessions where teamwork, advocacy, marketing, and campaigning were taught by the case study professionals.
One workshop was led by Art and Resistance Through Education. This company described the importance of fighting problems such as sexual trafficking, child slavery, and immigrant discrimination. The case study was to create an art project such as a mural, advocacy project, or public event for common neighborhood problems. One group created a idea for an annual walk to raise awareness about domestic abuse.
Alexis Buckner ’18 said, “It was cool to see theses companies because they stand for some of the things I stand for as well.”
Another workshop was about identifying cyber bullying. This facilitator taught everyone how to identify problems, goals, deliverables, allies, opponents, and tactics. The students walked away with plans for assemblies, mandatory lessons, consequences and other calls for action to take to their schools.
After the training sessions, there was keynote speaker Katherine Chambers, a transgender activist and educator. She taught the students to not give up and not to discriminate.
The conference was then opened up to a question and answer, a raffle won by a Midwood student, and a planning session. It was announced that there was a community project competition for those at the conference.
Khan plans to use the lessons from her workshops to create a documentary style video about Midwood for her community project.