Citywide Youth Coalition’s Rachel Hereema sent in this write-up and these photos about a recent Youth Summit.

We served about 200 sandwiches, salads, juice, water, and soda to some hungry young people and their families on Saturday May 24 at Wexler-Grant School for our 3rd annual Youth Summit.

SpeakLife! premiered a play they have been developing this year. This classroom scene showed various students frustrated by the style of instruction, the lack of resources or other students’ behavior. Audience members had a chance to join the performance and resolve the problems.

Middle school students got to pass the microphone and share their concerns and solutions about bullying.

High school and college students got some time on stage for spoken word, dance and singing. Powerful words!

When it was time for the younger students, everyone got up on stage to dance and sing!

Coalition members and partners rallied to support the summit. Here are two young women representing both Planned Parenthood and the NAACP Youth Council.

We split up into workshop areas where people could talk and share.

At the end of the day, we were back in the cafeteria with cookies and thank-yous and music—new friends and families together.

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posted by: RHeerema on May 29, 2014  4:36pm

All photos were taken by William Chils of Modern Society, who volunteered his time.

Sponsors who made the Youth Summit possible include: The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, New Haven Public Schools, Youth Development Training & Resource Center at The Consultation Center, Stop & Shop, Fair Haven Furniture, United Illuminating Company, Start Community Bank as well as Yale University, United Way of Greater New Haven, Mary & Doug Snyder, Post Traumatic Stress Center, Quinnipiac Bank & Trust, New Haven Promise, Common Ground High School, Youth Rights Media, 93.7 FM, and New Haven Family Alliance.

This Youth Summit was planned and co-created by an impressive group of young people and adults: Aaron Valles, Adnel Santana, Adonis Negron, Ahmed Hardy, Alea Hamrick, Antwon Hawkins, Damien Dempsey, Daquasha Miller, Deb Stewart, Eryn Ifill, George Black, Gwen Samuel, Ingrid Colon, Isaiah Iglesias, Joshua Williams, Kyisha Velazquez, Mark Ifill-Haney, Marquell Wright, Maryahh Schmidt, Megan Ifill, Melissa Mangini, Melvin James, Michilla Robinson, Mikaely Romero, Mirian Villatoro, Moeneya Armond, Monae Reid, Najay Henry, Nakia Mitchell, Nikolas Ramos, Omar Ambert, Rasheedah Shahid, Robetsy Quinones, Ryan Weston, Sarah Tankoos, Sheeva Williams-Nelson, Suzanne Lyons, Tulani Nettles and Zaria Hyman.

The following groups and schools were represented: ACES, Breakthru! Speak Life, Citywide Youth Coalition, The Consultation Center, Coop Center for Creativity, Coop High School, Eli Whitney Tech, The Future Project, Hill Youth Action Team, New Haven Family Alliance Juvenile Review Board, New Haven Academy, New Haven Public Schools, New Horizons, Solar Youth, Teach Our Children/Youth UnleashED, Southern CT State University, Wilbur Cross High School, University of New Haven, and Youth Rights Media. Rachel Heerema and Cinthia Perez co-facilitated the team.

This Youth Summit represents what’s possible when our communities come together to support positive youth development!

posted by: anonymous on May 29, 2014  4:52pm

Neat! Would love to see more stories like this in the New Haven Independent.