SALLY SANTORA/For the County News
Steve Todisco (right), a youth court facilitator, works with Stormy Watts (York), Jake Haralambou (York), Nick McEneany (Geneseo) and Lee Matthews (H-FL) to outline the county’s strengths and weaknesses in opportunities to serve others, one of the Five Promises.
Livingston County Youth
County teens strategize during youth summit
Who says today’s youth are apathetic, aren’t involved with their communities and don’t volunteer their time?
Judging by the two dozen or so teens that participated in a youth summit held Sept. 27 at the Goodwill Livingston Youth teen center in Geneseo, they are most certainly interested and involved in making things positive for area teens.
The Livingston County Youth Bureau and Healthy Communities that Care hosted the youth summit to discuss what’s good about teen life in the area and what could be improved. Shane Carmen, Geneseo student and founder of Livingston Youth at Goodwill, opened the summit and welcomed all of the teens and organization representatives for attending.
WBEE radio personality Billy Kidd talked to the teens about growing up in the suburbs of Monroe County and moving to Livingston County when he got married.
His wife was from Avon and today the couple resides in Livonia. Kidd counted the benefits of living in this area, including some of his own favorites like bonfires, being able to get around safely without driving, church activities, and having others in the community and school look out for you.
“You live in a great place with plenty of things to do. Take advantage of everything that’s here for you. You have something very special here,” he commented.
Nita Hawkins from the Youth Bureau reminded the audience of the youth bureau’s mission to develop, implement and evaluate a county wide system of services for youth. Using a needs assessment tool, the youth bureau allocates state funding to various programs that support the mission.
Rachel Pena from Healthy Communities that Care presented data from the surveys given to area high school students that looks at risk factors and attitudes about alcohol and drugs. She also talked with the teens about the different programs they can get involved in such as Above the Influence and Project Sticker Shock.
Hawkins reviewed the Five Promises, which are the fundamental resources that young people need to succeed.
They are caring adults, safe places, a healthy start, effective education and opportunities to help others.
According to research done by America’s Promise.org, children who receive at least four of the Five Promises are much more likely than those who experience only one or zero promises, to succeed academically, socially and civically.
The teens broke up into groups and with an adult facilitator; each one examined one of the five promises and listed Livingston County’s strength and weaknesses in that area. Each group presented their findings to the audience.
The youth summit resulted in a lot of productive dialogue between the youths who attended and the program representatives and the teens felt the exchange of ideas was worthwhile.
“My school counselor suggested the youth summit to me. One of the great things about it is that it includes kids and adults,” said Lee Matthews, a sophomore at Honeoye Falls-Lima High School.
Livingston County teens are invited to attend Livingston Youth at the Goodwill Community Center on Friday nights from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. They exchange ideas, make friends, have snacks, play video games and plan other activities for teens. Like them at Facebook.com/livingstonyouth.