2nd Annual Teen Leadership Summit kicks off at Columbus Trade Center

Published: Jul. 20, 2023 at 6:21 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 21, 2023 at 8:41 AM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Several city leaders gather with teens to discuss solutions to gun violence and other issues plaguing the area. It’s the 2nd Annual City-wide Teen Leadership Summit.

With excitement in the room, the two-day leadership teen summit kicked off Thursday morning in Columbus. Multiple sessions ranged from mental health to gun violence, and they say it’s time for everyone to start talking.

“I definitely feel like a lot more talking. I feel as if, what’s not done enough in the Black community is we don’t talk enough,” said 15-year-old Navianna Thomas Sweney.

“They also provide great people for you to talk to. Great people for you to listen to,” said 16-year-old Danielle Jones.

In one of the sessions, teens learn the value of self-love in order to prevent depression, anxiety and stress. In another classroom, teens tackled gun violence in our city. The session involved panelists from the Columbus Police Department and Cure Violence, an organization to heal the community.

“Young people are going to be brainstorming solutions to youth crime challenges we have and having their voice in the solutions,” said Tavari Turner.

The teens also had plenty to say.

“It pulls a lot of people out [of] the streets. It pulls a lot of kids from some of the stuff they experience from the streets and gives them an opportunity to visit new things,” said Deonta York.

Not only did the teens talk about their present, but they were also looking to the future. Several college and military recruiters were at the event to give teens options to choose the correct path.