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National Urban League Brings Youth Leadership Summit To South Florida

NUL president Marc Morial high-fives Youth Leadership Summit participants after his keynote address at the conference
NUL president Marc Morial high-fives Youth Leadership Summit participants after his keynote address at the conference

Besides bringing presidential candidates to South Florida, this week’s National Urban League Conference in Fort Lauderdaleis also bringing a variety of programs that could benefit South Florida’s residents.One of these initiatives is the National Urban League’s Youth Leadership Summit. 

This annual summit will bring together nearly 600 youth leaders from around the country at Nova Southeastern University. 

The purpose of the summit is for students to collaborate with each other, develop leadership and civic engagement skills, and explore options available to them after high school. 

Participation is competitive, and Hal Smith, the National Urban League’s senior vice president of education, youth development, and health, says “this is an opportunity for young leaders to convene, learn from each other, talk with one another, and build for success during and after high school.”

They’re taught STEM skills like digital learning and coding, attend a workshop that teaches innovation and leadership through jazz music, and take classes about the history of the African-American community in South Florida.

Credit National Urban League / Courtesy

A big part of the summit is giving the ability to explore post-high school opportunities to youth who may not normally have the chance to do so. There’s a college fair for the participants, as well a luncheon where they can meet and network with successful adults in the South Florida community.

A difference in this year’s youth summit is its larger than usual group of local participants.

“Having a local contingent is incredibly important to us because it helps us disseminate the hosting responsibilities,” says Smith. “They’re a steering committee with us, so they have worked with us all year to develop the content.”

One of the ways that so many local youth were able to participate was through $40,000 in scholarships provided by the Children’s Services Council (CSC) of Broward County. With these scholarships, 100 lower-income Broward County students will get to attend the summit. 

Cindy Arenberg Seltzer, president and CEO of the CSC, explains that the donation will not only benefit the youth participants, but also Broward County as a whole.

“When they get back to their regular lives, they’ll remember that sense of civic engagement and get involved in their neighborhood and the broader Broward community,” she says. “This is such a wonderful opportunity to teach our young people responsibility and to care about the place they live and the world around them.”

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