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Youth Summit Coming in July to SC State University; Targeting More Youth

The Healthy Young People Empowerment (HYPE) Project and Eat Smart Move More South Carolina will host the 5th Annual Youth Summit: #beyondthehashtag on July 15 at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg. Organizers are planning some exciting changes to the Summit’s format.

In the past, the Youth Summit was an opportunity for current HYPE Project Teams to convene and share best practices and lessons learned regarding their projects. This year, in addition to current HYPE teams, past HYPE teams and youth from other youth-serving organizations will be invited to attend the Summit.

“We want to build a broader network of young people with an awareness of healthy eating and active living, as well as youth advocacy,” said Trimease K. Carter, MSW, youth engagement manager at ESMMSC. “We know that all youth can’t participate in HYPE, but we can utilize opportunities like the Summit to spread our message to a larger audience. We also want to learn from other youth about how they are leaders in their communities.”

Keynote speaker and 16-year-old graduating high school senior Chris Suggs from Kinston, North Carolina will talk about how he’s been successful in leading change efforts in his community. Suggs is the founder & CEO of Kinston Teens, Inc, a nonprofit organization founded on the premise of empowering youth through service, leadership, and civic engagement. He’s also the co-founder & development director of Black Youth Network, a national network with the mission of connecting and empowering young African-American leaders and influencers who are making positive, meaningful contributions to their culture and society.

Organizers are also planning to provide short breakout sessions with content focused on advocacy skills, such as using social media, how government works, and other topics.

“The skills our HYPE Teams learn are skills they can use beyond their HYPE experience, so this year’s theme and content will show them that they can be agents of change,” said Carter. “#beyondthehashtag encourages youth to be ongoing voices in their communities.”

Carter said she’s excited about the changes and thinks it will attract close to 200 youth, advisors, and parents. She went on to say that hosting the Youth Summit on a college campus will provide many youths an opportunity to visit one of South Carolina’s universities first hand.

Organizers are in the process of finalizing speakers, and registration details will be released soon.