Youth summit helping local children

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 2, 1999

Saturday’s meeting of the Summit for Natchez-Adams&160;County’s Future is the first step in helping 500 local children.

&uot;This is our kick-off in getting business, parent and citizen involvement,&uot; said Chairwoman Carolyn Smith.

The summit is part of a nationwide program titled America’s Promise. Its purpose is to provide young people with at least one of five resources they need to succeed: mentoring, protection, nurturing, teaching and serving, Smith said. The statewide goal is to reach 20,000 young people with 500 selected as the Natchez goal.

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Smith hopes businesses and the local community will want to assist in the mentoring program. &uot;There is a definite need for things of this nature,&uot; she said.

The summit has already involved 180 youth in its service projects, she added. About 25 students and 23 adults attended Saturday’s meeting at Martin gymnasium. Students broke into small groups to discuss issues such as behavior and social skills, motivation and education.

The students later had to report their findings back to the larger group.

&uot;I think all the sessions were very productive,&uot;&160;Smith said &uot;The facilitators receive good feedback from the students.&uot;

Natchez-Adams Schools Superintendent Dr. Carl Davis was the guest-speaker.

&uot;You don’t have to be an adult to be a mentor,&uot; Davis said to the young people present.

Davis talked about the qualities that go into effective mentoring. These include spending quality time with a child, making positive statements and teaching respect and responsibility. &uot;If you look at life, life is nothing but a long list of choices,&uot; Davis said.

The day ended with separate empowerment sessions for the boys and the girls. The program is funded by a $1,000 grant from the Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service. It is co-sponsored by the Natchez Recreation Department and local businesses.