The inaugural Youth Empowerment Summit (YES) will be held noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, August 24 in Bellerive Hall at the University of Missouri – St. Louis. Youth attending YES will learn leadership skills and obtain training and support to make positive changes in their schools and communities. Participants will also generate suggestions to improve policies effecting youth in the region. YES is free to all teens 13-19 years old.

One hundred teens are expected to attend YES from school districts across the St. Louis region. Organizers are providing transportation to help participants travel from their home communities to UMSL and back.

Participants will have the opportunity to select training on one of the following leadership topics: Skills for Success; Creative Thinking & Decision Making; and Dealing with Conflict.

At the conclusion of the summit, the teens will present their policy suggestions to a panel of decision makers to help ensure their work results in action. Policy suggestions will center on Educational Access & Equity; Diversity & Inclusion; Housing; and Law Enforcement & Community Engagement.

“My main hope is that this summit will spark an interest in policies that affect youth to empower them to become active members of their communities,” says Tony Merritt II, a sophomore at Webster University and an alum of both the MU Extension 4-H Youth Futures College Readiness Program and the Ferguson Youth Advisory Board.

Supporters and sponsors of the 2019 Youth Empowerment Summit include UMSL School of Social Work, Youth Violence Prevention Partnership, Missouri Foundation for Health, The Vine at St. Stephen’s, Ferguson Youth Initiative, Emerson Family YMCA, The Principia School, Playtime Recreation, St. Louis Black Authors of Children’s Literature, the Thomas Dunn Learning Center, Urban Strategies’ Southeast Ferguson Youth Fellowship, Future in Action, Youth Achievers Foundation and MU Extension – St Louis County 4-H.

For more information about YES and how to register, visit

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