Memphis leaders work to inspire students at empowerment conference

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The City of Memphis is continuing its efforts to uplift the young people.

There were several community leaders at Saturday's Youth Empowerment Conference in Orange Mound who gave firsthand knowledge about staying on the right track.

Last year's conference was in East Memphis, and the leaders are hoping to host others in North Memphis and Whitehaven, giving youth around the city an opportunity to soak up some knowledge.

In a generation when social media dominates the culture, these Memphis youth ambassadors advised students how to manage their images online.

"They wonder sometimes why I didn't get this job? Well, it's because it's something you posted on Facebook that you shouldn't have posted, so we're teaching the do's and don'ts of social media," said Ike Griffith, City of Memphis Director of Youth Services.

It's the second year for the Youth Empowerment Conference presented by Mayor Jim Strickland.

Young people were able to ask questions about a range of topics.

The conversations were led by community leaders and business professionals.

"It gives me a lot of expertise that I didn't have," said White Station High junior Rashad Abdur'raheem.

"People around us are doing everything but you just have to have a strong mindset and understand that it's going to pay off in the long run," said Briarcrest Christian High sophomore Avanna King.

Each summer, the city offers youth jobs through its MPLOY program. Through this conference, the city also wants to teach youth how to better manage their money.

"These young people need to understand the value of saving money, how to start checking accounts and savings accounts, then they can spend a little bit," Griffith said.

Despite the society's challenges, the goal of the conference was to teach youth to rise above their circumstances.

"I don't want a zip code in this city to determine a child's destiny," Griffith said. "I don't want a child to feel that the situation that they may be in is their destination. That's why it's so very important that we put on programs of this caliber."

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