Broward Youth Coalition Conference Targets Broward & Miami-Dade Youth to Develop & Sustain Healthy Leaders
In its 23rd year, the United Way of Broward County Commission on Substance Abuse’s Broward Youth Coalition (BYC) will be hosting its annual Youth Leadership Training Institute (YLTI) from July 18-20 at Nova Southeastern University. The goal of the youth and adult organizers is to continue the successful models of supporting and mentoring South Florida’s youth leadership development. By exposing the 75+ youth attendees to multiple effective and creative strategies designed to help kids work through a myriad of issues most youth face at some point, the conference’s primary objective is to enhance the likelihood for working through these issues successfully. The YLTI challenges the youth to use critical and emotional thinking in their daily experiences to develop into the person or leader they would like to be.
“Too many young people believe they do not have a voice and truly do not know how to handle difficult situations,” stated Shahara Jaghoo, Director of Adult & Youth Training Initiatives at the United Way of Broward County Commission on Substance Abuse. “We have found that the combination of lacking the knowhow and life experience leads our youth towards frustration and unhealthy decisions when tackling some really tough issues, like substance abuse, violence, suicide and so many others. On the other hand, this conference gives them tangible strategies and trainings so they feel empowered and have the tools to empower their peers and to make a difference in their communities,” she added.
The conference organizers include the 30+ youth members of the BYC. It is interesting to note that these youth create and develop the entire agenda for the conference based on what they see in their schools, neighborhoods, at home and across their communities.
Colber Prosper, a BYC alumni, is one of a number of motivational speakers and facilitators. He will train the youth on advocating for change within their community. “Since I have recently been where they are, it’s especially important for me to share my experiences and focus on developing the skill set necessary to be successful in advocating for a community’s betterment,” he stated. “Often I see the light go off and that ‘ah ha’ moment when the participants just get it and I know they will go out and make healthy changes happen,” he added.
United Way of Broward County Commission on Substance Abuse (UWBCCSA) is a broad based substance use/abuse coalition dedicated to reducing substance use/abuse and all its devastating consequences on individuals, families, and communities. Today, its primary role is to serve as a coalition-building organization that brokers partnerships between federal, state and local agencies to foster, develop, and enhance integrated drug-free efforts throughout Broward County, while searching for innovative and effective ways to address the issue of substance use/abuse.