What's Happening?

What's Happening?

Seeing the World Through Their Eyes

Youth Panel, photo by Kelly de la Rocha, Daily GazetteNearly 400 people listened in rapt attention as a panel of 10 Schenectady youths spoke candidly about the harshness of their lives as well as their hopes for their community and for their future at Bridges to Youths: A Call to Action for Schenectady’s Youths on December 3.

The all-day conference, sponsored by The Schenectady Foundation, focused entirely on how we can work together to support the success of young people in school, in their homes and in the community.

“We have received not just positive feedback, but passionate feedback from many people indicating that they not only had a rewarding experience, but that they are ‘all in’ as we work on how we can embrace the success of our young people,” said Robert Carreau, Executive Director of The Schenectady Foundation.

As one conference participant said: “[The] conference was exhilarating to say the least. It was powerful and it stirred some things within me that I just put to the side. To just hear from the teens and to have the people there who could actually do something about some of these issues was, in my opinion, awesome!!”

A keynote address by Ruby Payne, author of the Bridges Out of Poverty books, and breakout sessions on vital topics affecting youth also helped drive the discussion.

“Within the room there was the definite sense that these kids really are our kids.  As a ‘family’ we need to embrace them and help keep them steady,” said Carreau. “The members of the youth panel bravely shared themselves so transparently, and helped us to see the world through their eyes.  Moving forward, I believe this is one of the things we need to continue to do, to keep the voice of youth at the table.” 

“Many individuals and organizations have expressed a desire to be involved in future initiatives,” said Carreau. “It will take all the community partners and people with passion and energy working together to make real change in our community and empower our youth to thrive. I can think of no more important cause.”

Read more at "Conference Aims to Help Underprivileged Youth," by Kelly de la Rocha, Daily Gazette.

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