Youth Summit Reflection

On Wednesday, May 26th, I took part in a youth summit at the Universities in Shady Grove. There, 40-50 at-risk teens from schools throughout Montgomery County discussed the hardships and obstacles they face and what they need to overcome them. In the end, I found that students expressed the need for three things: finding the right support opportunities; learning how to channel energy into positive action; and being aware of available second chance options. Our Voices Matter along with other community organizations and agencies will work with students to address these needs. Sign up below if you’d like to help.  

This youth summit was part of Montgomery County’s effort under President Obama’s My Brothers Keeper Initiative. Led by Montgomery County Collaboration Council staff member Elijah Wheeler and Our Voices Matter board president, Will Jawando, the event made it possible for attendees to share their thoughts regarding law enforcement and public safety, home life, the school system and employment options in Montgomery County. I was surprised to hear about the struggles some students face in their daily lives, such as physical and or mental abuse, drug use, gang violence, and teachers advising them to drop out of school.

Discouraging voices and oppressive circumstances make learning and studying extremely hard to do. It’s clear that these at risk students need caring and enterprising mentors and available programs and resources to help them find their way to a better life. Let’s work together to make these things possible.  

I agree to help with the My Brother's Keeper initiative in Montgomery County.

Justin Cummings