Teen Summit in St. John Friday morning

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 9, 2012



LAPLACE – Middle school and high school students throughout St. John the Baptist Parish will have the chance Friday to speak with various community leaders on a multitude of topics that affect the lives of young people.

Students in grades seven through 11 from all public and private schools in the parish have been invited to the first annual Teen Summit sponsored by the St. John Parish 40th Judicial District Children and Youth Services Planning Board. Organizers said the summit is being used as a way to connect with the youth of the parish at their level.

“Our goal is to get information from them to see what they need to be successful citizens in the community,” said planning board member Reshonn Saul, who works in the Office of Juvenile Justice. “There is a lot going on in St. John, and we wanted to start something that could open the lines of communication with young people.”

Saul said the event, which will begin at 9 a.m. at the New Wine Christian Fellowship Activities Center in LaPlace, is expected to draw about 20 students from each school that were hand picked by principals to attend.

“We asked for a variety of students of all ages,” Saul said. “We want this to be a youth development program. We are not just focusing on at-risk youth or those students with high grade point averages. We are hoping to get a cross section of students Friday.”

Saul said the summit will begin with a guest speaker, and then students will be pulled into various breakout groups where moderators will discuss topics like bullying and cyberbullying, career development, the “hip hop” culture, health and fitness and other topics.

“This is just the beginning of what we want to accomplish,” Saul said. “We want this to grow into a larger event with more student involvement in the future.”