Youth conference stresses civic leadership, speaking up

April 27, 2013 • Local News

New Mexico Youth Alliance Project Manager Moneka Stevens-Cordova encourages students to be proactive leaders in their communities, at the Regional Youth Conference, Saturday. (Amy Vogelsang Photo)

In an effort to encourage middle and high school students to be proactive in their communities and to teach them about civic leadership, the New Mexico Youth Alliance along with Engaging Latino Communities for Education New Mexico held a Regional Youth Conference, Saturday, at Mesa Middle School.

The New Mexico Youth Alliance is a council of youth representatives who have political input in state youth policies, and [auth] ENLACE is a statewide partnership of representatives who speak out for unrepresented children and families.

This first annual conference included a series of workshops on various teenage related issues, from reaching for goals and having a voice to dealing with abusive relationships and bullying. Adults as well as high school students, who presented some of the workshops, organized the conference.

Student coordinator and high school freshman Teo Le spoke on abusive teen relationships.

“I want them to experience what others felt and what they can do help stop prevent this from happening at all,” Le said. His message encourages kids to report any abusive relationship they are in or witness.

Junior Aridnee Thomas, another student coordinator who has been involved with Enlace for three years, presented a workshop on goal setting and shaping a path for a successful future. She acknowledges the importance of her position as a role model for the younger kids, in both successes and failures.

“Once you have your first mistake is when everything starts leveling out,” Thomas said. “You try so hard to be perfect, but it’s after you make that first mistake that you realize you’re not perfect; but these guys are looking at how you bounce back from those types of mistakes. And it’s just living your life and doing the best you can do.”

The overall message from every workshop was to speak out and report any hurtful behavior, whether it is in a relationship, or someone being bullied or picked on. The day was about reminding kids that they have voices, and that it’s not only OK but also very important that they speak up.

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