Selma City Councilwoman Benjamin holds annual leadership enriching event

Published 9:46 pm Wednesday, July 25, 2018

The 10th Annual Youth Conference, hosted by Councilwoman Angela Benjamin, attracted many local youths anxious to gain leadership skills and obtain personal growth through communication and performing in educational activities on Wednesday.

“Everything is covered from the arts to math and science,” Benjamin said. “Every year, I’m excited about this. We hear a lot about the young people and what they are doing on the opposite side of positive. This is something positive for our community. These young people go to college and call me to tell me how the youth conference has helped them. It is a great, free four-day conference.”

Benjamin hopes that the attending youths gain vital information that will guide them into a positive future.

“There are several things I want them to get out of this,” Benjamin said. “I want them to understand the importance of working together and being good, civic leaders.”

Letha Dillard, who has been involved with the youth conference for eight years, said she feels the same as Benjamin, though, she wishes more youths would participate.

“I wish there were more children participating because Selma needs to come together,” Benjamin said. “It would make me happy to see a variety of children be part of the youth conference.”

The youth conference has many volunteers excited to see the attendees intellectually grow throughout their time at the conference.

“I’ve been volunteering for four years,” said Stephanie Coles. “I started volunteering because my child started attending the youth conference. As a parent, you want to engage in your children’s activities. The youth conference is important because I have seen my daughter and other youth develop. As a parent you enjoy seeing that.”

Clinequa Peeples, a volunteer who was a previous attendee of the conference said the conference and the activities it provides are very entertaining and beneficial. 

“I usually attend the youth conference every year, and I feel that it helps the children and motivates them to aim higher,” Peeples said.

Warren “Billy” Young, who served as one of the speakers during the conference, said it is good to see young people trying to better themselves.

“If I see a young person trying to improve his or herself, then I believe it is my responsibility to push them on to the next level,” Young said. “Someone helped me, and I know I was helped by my community. I believe that adults should raise, rear and look after the children of the community to get them to where they need to go next.”

Another speaker, Vernetta Perkins, said she was honored to speak with the youth and relay them vital information on how to succeed and deal with obstacles.

“We talked about personal challenges and methods that can be used to overcome those challenges,” Perkins said. “I’m glad that the young people are coming out. I would love to do activities with them on a consistent basis because I believe it is the consistency that makes the impact.”

The Youth Conference will continue throughout the week until July 28.