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The Right Choice Project promotes career, leadership building for youth

LAPLACE — The Right Choice Project leaders believe River Parishes youth will thrive when engaged in a community that cares about them.

In addition to providing HIV testing, cholesterol checks and other basic primary care services to the community, The Right Choice Project is beginning a cost-free youth initiative intended to shape the future leaders in St. John the Baptist and St. Charles parishes.

Project team member Dana Smith will facilitate discussions through eight one-hour class sessions beginning this week.

The St. Charles Parish session will be held from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. today at the St. Charles Parish Juvenile Justice Building, located at 816 Paul Maillard Road in Luling.

The first St. John session, focused on leadership, will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday at Revelation Knowledge Outreach Center, located at 125 Ash Street in LaPlace.

Southern HIV Impact Fund and St. John United Way are also partnering with the project, according to Smith.

“Being a member of the community born and raised in St. John Parish, I would like to see the young people grow into our future leaders,” Smith said.

“Young people need opportunities outside of school to stay involved and feel that they do matter in the community. We’re building educated individuals who will be able to help us when they grow older.”

Future sessions will introduce youth to community speakers, aptitude tests for career exploration and lessons on social awareness, Smith said.

Pastor Alfreda Devare said Revelation Knowledge Outreach is pleased to partner with the program to achieve a common goal.

“It’s all about social awareness, character development and leadership,” Devare said. “It’s a great program they’re bringing into our community.”

No registration is required, and parents are asked to drop off their children.

The Youth Initiative Program is offered to teenagers ages 13 to 17, though Smith said future events would be geared toward young adults, ages 18 to 24.

For more information, visit therightchoiceproject.org, call 985-248-9328 or email therightchoiceproject@gmail.com.