AVPRIDE FYLP StudentsSpecial to Fayette Newspap­ers

When TV Personality Judge Glenda Hatchett serves as keynote speaker at a Fayette County “Town Hall Meeting” on October 22, Fayette County youth will have played a significant role in making the event happen.
Some 40 students who participate in a youth leadership development program sponsored by AVPRIDE are helping to put together the event in a number of different ways.  This includes having meetings with the ten high school and middle school principals in our county to promote the event through the schools, designing posters and flyers for the schools, and creating a social media campaign to inform their fellow students through Instragram and Twitter.
The youth in AVPRIDE’s youth leadership program – called the Fayette Youth Leaders Pride (FYLP) program – also had a lot to do with getting the keynote speaker, TV personality Judge Glenda Hatchett.  One of the student’s parents has personal and professional connections with Judge Hatchett, and made the initial connection with the Judge to float the idea of her serving as the primary speaker for the event.
FYLP students have also played a significant role in creating a short, dramatic skit that will highlight the pressures that teens and their parents are under.  Students came up with the initial outline of the script, helped write it, and will be serving as the actors when the skit is presented at the town hall meeting.
Brittany White, a FYLP student from Whitewater High School, feels good about the youth contributions in creating this event: “I think students’ roles in this town hall are important for our community; it lets us have a voice.”
The town hall meeting, dubbed “Issues Facing Teens & Youth: Digging Deeper and Keeping it Real” is intended to talk about some of the underlying pressures and emotions that teens – and parents – deal with, and that sometimes can lead to negative outcomes.  Judge Hatchett is expected to discuss the impact to the community of these outcomes, and how the community can collaborate to touch on some of the root causes.
The town hall will be held at the McIntosh High School Auditorium.  “Teen alcohol and drug use that puts our kids at risk is always a concern”, McIntosh principal Lisa Fine noted.  “We’re looking forward to “digging deeper” into this conversation, and the youth role in engaging in this issue. I am grateful for the partnership with AVPRIDE and their assistance in the education and leadership development of our youth.”
Larris Marks, Fayette Visioning Chair, added, “”Fayette Visioning applauds AVPRIDE and the Fayette County School System for partnering on this extremely important youth leadership development opportunity.  The town hall provides an excellent platform for Fayette County youth to lead and engage in conversations about issues that are authentic to them…it is a wonderful strategy to enhance youth motivation, foster intellectual agility, and encourage democratic habits.”
AVPRIDE Executive Director Pam Reid noted the overall intention of the town hall meeting. “We know Fayette County is a fantastic place to raise our kids and provide them with a strong educational base.  We have to also pay attention to the things that put our kids at risk.  We know from statistics that our county has an issue with underage drinking, but statistics alone do not work to influence our community on this issue, and as a community it’s time to give an ear to what is causing issues like underage drinking and social hosting in the first place, as well as some of the underlying pressures and challenges.  We need to share in the responsibility – with our youth – of designing something our kids can hear, and our parents can learn from and respond to.  This town hall is a safe platform for that conversation, a dialogue that our community can benefit from and that will generate action in everyone.”
The “Issues Facing Teens & Parents – Digging Deep and Keeping It Real!” Town Hall will be hosted Thursday, October 22, 2015, 6:30pm-8:00pm, at the McIntosh High School Auditorium. Fayette County students in grades 8 through 12, parents, and community leaders are strongly encouraged to attend the free event. For more information, visit www.avpride.org or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AVPRIDE-Inc-568295039903181.
Since 1996, AVPRIDE has striven “o assist Fayette County youth to become conscious and productive citizens of society who will make significant contributions to their community.  AVPRIDE is a 501(c)3 youth leadership development nonprofit.