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Mid-City CAN Blog

In my own words: Summit connects youth

 Mid-City CAN Youth Council Member Leslie Renteria, 17 and a Hoover High School student, was one of the planners of the #YouthPower Summit on April 4 at San Diego State University. The event was designed to create a network for young people between schools and communities. Photo by Adam Ward
Mid-City CAN Youth Council Member Leslie Renteria, 17 and a Hoover High School student, was one of the planners of the #YouthPower Summit on April 4 at San Diego State University. The event was designed to create a network for young people between schools and communities. Photo by Adam Ward

 

On April 4, more than 150 young people from all over San Diego County and beyond came together at the #YouthPower Summit at San Diego State University. They Mid-City CAN Youth Council worked with partners including Maximizing Access to Advance our Communities Project, The American Civil Liberties Union and Nu Alpha Kappa Fraternity to plan the event.

Mid-City CAN arranged transportation from area high schools, including Hoover, to the event. Breakout sessions included topics ranging from healthy food to immigrant youth and skills workshops on voting, lobbying and youth rights.

By Leslie Renteria

The Youth Council's goal from the #YouthPower Summit was to let youth from across San Diego become aware of the issues they are facing and also learn tactics. An underlying goal was to allow them to realize that -- although they are all from different communities, schools, and cultures and have different perspectives -- most of them face the same issues, such as lack of access to transportation, jobs and resources, as well as feeling like they cannot do anything to change their surroundings. We wanted them to know that they have the ability to create a change and improve their living conditions and that together we will have a greater impact.

As a Mid-City CAN Youth Council, we had the opportunity to begin a conversation regarding the power that youth have in San Diego. Many did not know the tactics to reach out to bring attention to their needs. With this summit we wanted to spark an interest to make a change in their community and school.

We hope to collect all the different ideas about #YouthPower and find out how young people believe they can make difference. We want to create a network between schools and communities. Due to similarities of issues, we believe that a network across the cities will enable us to target particular issues and improve them equally.

The planning committee was composed of an ACLU representative, Mid-City CAN members, MAAC Community Charter School, Paul Watson from The Global Arc and other individuals, with the help of NAK Fraternity Brothers from SDSU. It was about four months of planning meetings, at least once a month. The adults on the committee wanted to make sure that the summit was youth led and planned, and indeed it was all composed of ideas from youth, especially from the Mid-City CAN Youth Council members, like Erick Hernandez, Oscar Hernandez and Terry Stanley. These are just a few who were actively engaged in the conversation. Many ideas were brought to the table and most of them were taken into action. With the help of many orgs and the different ideas from each of them, we were able to get our message across and achieve our mission for the event.

I encourage youth to get involved in their communities and city and be aware of the changes that are coming in, as well as working to improve issues that are affecting them. Joining the Mid-City CAN youth Council is a great opportunity for youth who want to work in City Heights and also connect statewide. As we finish the skatepark campaign, we want more youth input to create the next campaign, the next change in City Heights or San Diego. The Youth Council will give you the ability to connect with local organizations, university professors, council representatives and youth from across California, who also seek to improve living conditions for youth. For more information, check out http://midcitycan.org/youth-council and the Mid-City CAN Youth Council page on Facebook and Instagram.

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