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Youth Leadership
by:Yanara Porter

The youth of Harlem met on Thursday March 10th, 2005 to discuss the creation of a new youth leadership group. The event was held by Jerrel Burney, a 21- year old member of Public Allies. He is interested in forming an organization that makes kids involved in helping their community. He stated that he was very devoted in changing the way things are in Harlem. Tracy Gibson who works at the Abyssinian Development Corporation is also a colleague in establishing this future youth organization.
The meeting was held in a small room at 105 West 137th Street. They did have structure and a stable guideline.

After the youth received an introduction to the youth organization Burney started the session off with a group activity. The teens drew a clock on a paper plate and “booked” appointments with the other volunteers there. Burney called out a time and the kids would talk to the person they had scheduled appointments with. Every time they moved onto the next appointment they would have a different topic to talk about such as their favorite movie, what they would do to change our community, and more diverse subjects. The purpose of this activity was to get the teens familiar with each other.

After the exchange the teens discussed what they could do as teenagers to help the community. The most popular idea was the freestyle battle/talent show. One of the teens named Princess was the most enthusiastic about that idea. Another idea was a rehabilitation center to decrease the number of drug addicts in Harlem and get more people off the streets. A volunteer named Ricola suggested the idea of admitting the group in a game tournament. This group can go around the country to represent Harlem. Someone even suggested starting a newsletter. They were thinking hard on ways to improve their neighborhood.
This youth group has the foundation to progress and establish itself. With a strong leader and with devoted teenagers they are destined to succeed. Given the right amount of time and resources the leadership will definitely have a great impact on this community.


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