Youth were empowered at separate events in Maricopa on March 3.
The city of Maricopa’s Youth Council hosted its first Youth Town Hall to allow teens to express themselves about issues that impact their lives. Meanwhile, a sorority was at Maricopa Elementary introducing RunJumpThrow.
In a segment on academic pressure, students attending the Youth Town Hall at Copper Sky spoke about self-doubt after moving to Maricopa and self-improvement after losing their way academically or socially in a new environment.
“Every time I would turn in my report card to my parents, I could just see the disappointment on their faces, and that really affected me,” one student said. “I know that they love me, but I would think at the time that they didn’t because they were so disappointed.”
Some credited their friends and school counselors with helping them get on track while others said they realized the people they were hanging out with were dragging them down. Others spoke about overcoming overloaded schedules.
Led by members of the Youth Council, they discussed the cause and effects of stress. Councilmembers directed the conversation toward resources for help.
While the Youth Town Hall proved to be a safe space for teens to openly discuss personal issues, over at Maricopa Elementary, younger children were learning leadership and self-worth in a very physical way. The Kappa Eta Sigma Alumnae Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc. hosted its Youth Symposium, “Building Partnerships to Support Our Youth.” It was a community service event with the Be Awesome Youth Coalition.
The event was planned to introduce the RunJumpThrow program, the sorority’s new partnership with USA Track & Field sponsored by the Hershey Company. City Councilman Bridger Kimball and former Denver Bronco Drew Anderson were special guests. RunJumpThrow is a hands-on learning program to get youths excited about physical activity by introducing them to the basic running, jumping and throwing skills through track and field.
“Statistics show that almost one in four children is suffering from childhood obesity, so we know that our children need more opportunities to exercise,” said Bonita M. Herring, international president of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority. “It is important to work with community partners to develop young people in all facets of their lives, educationally, socially and emotionally.”
The day also included interactive workshops on healthy living as part of Project Reassurance.