MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Empowering our youth is exactly what the mayor, other city leaders and countless volunteers were focused on Saturday morning.
They were engaged in real-world learning. This was the second annual Youth Empowerment Conference. A true community commitment, Office of Youth Services Director Ike Griffith, called it.
"We are trying to do our best to help our youth become productive, put them on the right track," Office of Youth Services Director Ike Griffith said. "Let them have goals that they can reach for and get."
You know who really gets it? Students like Darryl Faciane. The Soulsville Charter School sophomore attended last year, and said without a question he was returning this year for more.
"I really like the program because it really gives you a lot of lessons and skills that most people don't have when they are applying for things in life," Faciane said.
Melrose High Junior Jadia Murphy was overjoyed by what she called a true labor of love.
"It's amazing because to actually have a sense that they actually care about us," Murphy said. "It's always nice to know that somebody is caring about you, especially somebody from higher up."
What these students were learning, you can't always find in a textbook. They were learning how to stay out of gangs, how to balance a budget and the do's and don'ts of social media.
The young ladies gathered in classrooms downstairs, while upstairs the young gentlemen were soaking up the information.
Coordinator Seria Ross was proud the Empowerment Conference was living up to its name.
"Hearing those students say, 'I'm ready for the conference this year, I've been applying this; I do have a savings account now,'" Ross said was rewarding to her.
Organizers said upwards of 300 students were at Saturday's event.
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