‘Teen summit’ set for Aug. 18

Published 4:32 am Wednesday, August 8, 2018

A local non-profit organization is sponsoring a “teen summit” this month, to encourage young people to make healthy life choices and to make the most of this school year.

Ken Martin, a member of the Washington Men’s Club, spoke to the Bogalusa Rotary Club on Tuesday afternoon about the upcoming event. The Washington Parish Teen Summit will be held Saturday, Aug. 18, from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. at Cassidy Park in Bogalusa.

“We’re all in this boat together,” Martin said. “We’re opening our program to all the schools in the parish. We’re going to give them school supplies, and we’re also going to give them a lot of other information that is going to help them.”

The summit will be a free event for all young people, ages 12-18. There will be food, performances, a DJ, games, booths, drawings, interactive sessions and more.

Planned topics for discussion include continuing education, drug awareness, social media, sexual health, fitness, fashion, police awareness, healthy minds, school violence and self-respect.

Martin said that Rayburn Correctional Center Warden Robert Tanner has given permission for some RCC inmates to attend the summit and speak to the students about the consequences of bad choices.

“(Those inmates) can touch the kids better sometimes than when they listen to ol’ coach Martin,” he said. “When I was in school, the prisoners impacted me more and probably did more for me not getting in trouble — telling me about prison life — than anybody else I heard. I listened to those guys.”

Other law enforcement officials who plan to participate and share information include the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office, Bogalusa Police Department, Franklinton Police Department, and the office of District Attorney Warren Montgomery, Martin said.

“There are questions that kids want to know, such as what to do when a policeman stops you,” Martin said. “We’re going to break out into breakout sessions. We’re going to have a health awareness session; we’re going to have a session for girls, on how to handle certain things. We’ll have a session for boys on what it takes to be a man.

“A lot of times, people who are at-risk in our community, they don’t have that male role model at home.”

Martin said that students would also serve as some of the emcees and organizers of the various events throughout the day.

“It’s important to let the kids be involved in something like this,” he said. “It’s going to be about young people, reaching young people.”