Conference for youth kicks off

Published 8:38 pm Wednesday, July 27, 2016

By Samantha Bolden | The Selma Times-Journal

The eighth annual city of Selma Youth Conference gave teenagers a chance Wednesday to see what life will be like as an adult.

The four-day conference started off with two workshops, including one by Togo Uganda Coles, Founder and Chairman of TEAM.

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During his presentation, Coles presented information to the participants about entrepreneurship and the world of business. He encouraged them to pursue their dreams by developing a career or business plan.

“Take your ideas, work with your ideas, and do not wait. That is my key,” Coles told the participants as the session ended.

Coles said that it’s important for him to give back to the community.

“This is my home,” Coles said. “My baseball team, The Selma Toros, is an example of giving back. Whenever I come home, I have to represent.”

During the workshop, participants were sent to different booths pretending to be an adult with occupations, salaries and a family. They learned about budgeting, decision-making skills and the difference between wants and needs.

The booths set up included RC Childcare, Reality Automotive, Realville Bank, Just for Fun, Super-Mart and Realville Realty, giving participants a chance to see all walks of life.

“It helps us focus on what you want to be in life and helps build leadership skills,” 15-year-old Selma High School student Kirstin Aaron said. “I love meeting new people.”

Jakeria Ervin, a 15-year-old Selma High School student, agreed saying that she came to the conference because she thought that it would be a great experience.

“I just thought it’d be a great way for me to meet new people,” Ervin said.

Councilwoman Angela Benjamin, who is coordinating the conference, said that she is pleased with the turnout from the conference’s first day. Approximately 70 students attended the workshop.

“It was a very wonderful experience for the children,” Benjamin said. “It gave them a reality check.”