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March 10, 2009

Charlotte, NC – Why do some teens turn to violence?  What can young people tell us about how to prevent violence?  These are some of the questions to be tackled at the next “Teen Summit: Youth Against Violence and Gangs,”on Thursday evening March 12, 2009, 5:30-8pm at Albemarle Road Recreation Center, 5027 N. Idlewild Rd. The event is open to teens and parents.

This series of Teen Summits began in 2007. They are for teen boys and girls, ages 11-17.  The series will intensify in the rest of 2009 with one summit every month through November.

With gang activity on the rise, Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation, Parent University of Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools, and WPEG-FM, Power 98 have scheduled the following additional Teen Summits to continue open and honest dialogue with teens. They will be held 5:30pm-8pm at the following dates and locations

  • April 9:  Naomi Drenan Recreation Center, 750 Beal St.
  • May 14:  Ivory Baker Recreation Center, 1920 Stroud Park Ct.
  • June 13:  Hickory Grove Recreation Center, 6709 Pence Rd.
  • July 9:  Sugaw Creek Recreation Center, 943 West Sugar Creek Rd.
  • August 13:  Arbor Glen Recreation Center, 1520 Clanton Rd.
  • September 10:  Bette Rae Thomas Recreation Center, 2921 Tuckaseegee Rd.
  • October 8:  Methodist Home Recreation Center, 3200 Shamrock Dr.
  • November 12:  Tuckaseegee Recreation Center, 4820 Tuckaseegee Rd.

Each summit will focus on resolving issues facing teens such as gangs, dating violence, substance abuse, and providing teens a voice to articulate issues in their community. Radio personalities from WPEG-FM, Power 98 will moderate the events: Janine Davis, No Limit Larry and Tone X from the Morning Madhouse radio show.

WPEG-FM, Power 98 and Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation began Teen Summits in Charlotte. Parent University joined the partnership this year to provide answers for parents with youth in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools.

During Teen Summits last year, among those surveyed:  51% said they had friends in gangs, and 21% said they had been approached by a gang either in school or their neighborhood. As a possible deterrent to violence, some teens suggested more community activities like skate parties, midnight basketball or more even teen summits. In the next round of Teen Summits, Park and Recreation will introduce more structured activities for teens and move to activate Teen Summit Objectives for 2009-2010:

  1. To engage youth/teens in open dialogue on topics of interest.
  2. To educate youth/teens and raise awareness about gang activity, teen violence and unhealthy relationships.
  3. To provide information that will encourage teens to make informed choices
  4. To encourage positive and critical thinking skills and promote self-respect and self esteem
  5. To provide program information that will initiate an increase in appropriate socialization skills
  6. To increase awareness of recreation/leisure opportunities in the community
  7. To identify personal recreation/leisure activity interests
  8. To provide program evaluations for feedback and input
  9. To collect data for future program development and/or program improvement

These teen summits are important because many parents, community advocates and leaders ask why our teens act so poorly. But seldom do adults and leaders reach out to teens to get answers from THEM. The summits create this opportunity through real dialogue.

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