Monday, August 07, 2006

Youth Summit at Salve

Beginning Tues. some area teens will be meeting for 3 days at Salve. This summit is being supported by a number of local groups and is primarily funded through a grant from the R.I.Foundation. For three days these students will be focusing on local, national, and world issues. Think of a targeted civics class (remember civics?). They will also be introduced to lobbying, advocacy, the political process, & public speaking. I've seen the schedule and fun is also on the agenda.

I'm also delighted to see that Salve is the site for this summit. Allowing teens to participate and experience a college setting is an outstanding example of the the right time and the right place. As a Social Studies (& Civics) teacher, it was always difficult to get students to connect with the importance and relevance of the political process which is all around them, like it or not. It's even more difficult with adults! I have high hopes for this group. It's events like this that explain why I am involved with politics.

I have been invited to participate on the third day of the assembly when they are going to conduct q&a with local, state, & federal candidates for office. I am truly impressed, not to mention excited to be able to meet with and interact not only with the panelists, but with the area teens.

I am reminded of a group of students I met recently at a fundraiser outside Prov. They are politically active and they don't even have the right to vote (yet!) Recently they held a cookout and invited area residents to come & sign up to vote. Now these are my kind of people! "Youth in Political Action" They've conducted forums for candidates and have a storefront office they work out of.

I have been furnished with a list of topics that they'd like to discuss with the panel and I was quite impressed:
Equal marriage rights, heterosexism and homophobia – local, state and national focus
Education and public funding – local, state and national focus
Affordable and low income housing - the “uglification” of Newport County
Genocide - US intervention

Guess that I have some brushing up to do! The Candidates Forum is from 2:00-5:00 @ O’Hare Academic Center. This will also include the launching of their new NC YouthConnect Website Launch & a reception .


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