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Youth summit brings 1300 students to Devos Place to learn life skills

Students attend KCPC Youth Summit in Grand Rapids
Dee Morrison
Students attend KCPC Youth Summit in Grand Rapids

Students from 20 Kent County schools attend workshops on how to manage peer pressure, social media, relationships and more

Alexander Tomas is one of 1300 students from sixth to twelfth grade who skipped regular school Friday to attend special classes at the 13th annual Kent County Prevention Coalition’s Youth Summit.

“I really like the conversation they had about discipline. I’m really big on self-growth and it kind of matches the theme today.”

Students were bussed in from around West Michigan to learn critical life skills to thrive amidst the challenges of peer pressure, drugs, social media, anxiety and depression.

“So the main focus is learning how to thrive. Not just doing the bare minimum or struggling to get by, but how do I be my best self to go above and beyond and be better?”

Program organizer Nadia Kimble has been working with teen leaders for months to curate programming that’s most relevant to today’s young people. Together they created 13 workshop sessions.

“We have Radiate: how do I show up online? What’s my social media presence; what is my personal brand? How do I present myself to others? We’ve got Bloom which is all about young ladies finding the self-esteem, confidence, and courage to build healthy relationships.”

Alexander Tomas has become one of the youth ambassadors who helped create this year’s event and says for him, it's about focusing on gratitude.

“Just breathing is a blessing, and just to have the opportunity to be better is a blessing.”

Kimble is already planning to grow next year’s event for students in Kent County.

"If there’s someone out there that has a youth group, school group, church group, therapy group – anyone who’s serving 6-12th graders is welcome to bring a group and join us.”

More information is on the KCPC website.

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