| Educating and Empowering Our Youth
By Senator Mark Leno Dec 22, 2009
Each fall I have the unique opportunity to team up with local community organizations and schools to host events that are designed to empower and educate our young people. Since joining the Legislature in 2003, I have hosted annual youth conferences, in collaboration with community organizations, as part of my ongoing commitment to helping prepare them to become fulfilled, healthy and productive members of society.
Every day our young people are confronted with complicated life choices that impact them and the community they live in. Adults must do what we can to teach them the life skills they need to succeed, and to inspire and motivate them to realize their full potential by taking advantage of many opportunities to become future leaders.
This October my office hosted two youth conferences in San Francisco. The 6th Annual Young Women’s Conference “OWN IT! Your Body, Mind & Life,” attracted several hundred young women from high schools and community centers across San Francisco. Co-sponsored by Planned Parenthood Golden Gate, the event brought young women together for inspirational and educational workshops provided by local non-profit organizations on topics such as preparing for college, drafting a resume, self-defense, self-esteem, healthy relationships, and personal well-being for their mind and body.
One of the highlights of the Young Women’s Conference was our feature performance from The Medea Project, a theater company for incarcerated women. The performance encouraged young women to speak out against and take action to prevent domestic violence.
At the end of the day, our young women had attained useful knowledge on rising above the challenges and obstacles they encounter.
On October 30, we hosted our 2nd Annual Asian and Pacific Islander Youth Summit in cooperation with the Community Youth Center (CYC) and Asian Youth Advocacy Network (AYAN). Hundreds of Asian Pacific Islander (API) youth from San Francisco high schools attended the all-day conference, which included workshops designed to empower API youth to get involved in their local communities. Students discussed cultural and language challenges that often influence their self-identity and esteem. These educational and culturally sensitive workshops were provided by local non-profit organizations and leaders in the API community. It was an eventful day for our API youth to learn about the importance of creating a cohesive community.
Next May, we will be hosting our 5th Annual Youth in Action Awards with local youth organizations and schools. This annual awards program recognizes high school students who have dedicated their time to community and civic service.
In addition to our annual youth conferences, our district offices in San Francisco and San Rafael work throughout the year to support and provide helpful information to young people in the Third Senate District. We must all do our part to provide an empowering environment that our youth need and deserve.
If you would like more information about our youth conferences or other services, please contact our San Francisco District Office at 415-557-1300 or San Rafael District Office at 415-479-6612. You may also reach me by email at Senator.Leno@senate.ca.gov or on the web at www.sen.ca.gov/Leno.
Senator Mark Leno represents the Third Senate District of California, which includes portions of San Francisco and Sonoma Counties and all of Marin County.
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