Dushun Scarbrough of Arkansas's Martin Luther King Jr. Commission told local Rotarians last week that two youth summits have been implemented to encourage positive leadership development in communities.
“There are many advantages to partnerships in the community, especially in the area of awareness,” commented Scarbrough.
As a state agency, the King Commission, with the assistance of the Arkansas Department of Human Services, wants to host a “Nonviolence Youth Summit” on Friday September 20 from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Phillips Community College. The summit will feature special guest keynote speaker from the hit TV show “Keenan and Kel” and blockbuster movie “Good Burger,” Kel Mitchell. This event is free and open to all, but sponsorship and prior confirmation of attendance is requested, explained Scarbrough.
According to Scarbrough, the summits educate today's young people on professional development, leadership, Arkansas history, crime prevention and much more.
“Our mission is to reach youths in all regions of the state. We have had great success in holding our past eight nonviolence youth summits,” reported Scarbrough.
Scarbrough stated that the summits have been held in West Memphis, Pine Bluff, Fayetteville, Little Rock, Hope, Harrison, Forrest City and El Dorado.
“Our Dream Keepers Program helps empower young people to gain an appreciation for community service through teamwork. Dream Keepers involvement helps them make choices that will have a positive impact on their lives,” added Scarbrough.
Service projects are a reflection of the talents and dedication of the team members continued Scarbrough. They include tutorial programs, neighborhood clean-ups and feeding the hungry.
Program goals include:
•Inspiring kids to undertake community service projects and activities to help others
•Encouraging young people to embrace nonviolence for settling disputes
•Providing youths with an alternative to negative influences
• Help youngsters realize and fulfill their ability to bring healing and hope to their families, schools and communities.
Scarbrough stated that in order to be a dream keeper, each young person must sign a nonviolence pledge to be involved in drug-free community service projects.
“It's a commitment to promote human equality where teams must be connected to an existing community-based organization, church, school, etc.,” he said
Scarbrough also reported on the L.E.A.D program that works to identify and nurture leaders, promote education and promote acceptance of diversity within communities throughout Arkansas.
“Our goal is to establish a team of leaders across the state,” said Scarbrough. Scarbrough stated that the program prioritizes efforts based on the identified needs such as career, academic and social mentorships.
During the nonviolence youth summit, there will be four breakout sessions, which will deal with bullying, self-esteem gang violence and leadership.
“Realizing that kids of the community have just gotten out of hand is the first step of any community,” commented Scarbrough. “The reason we're here is to promote Dr. King's legacy and his nonviolent mission.”
Page 2 of 2 - Scarbrough anticipates that 350 children will attend the summit. He is currently working to bring in children from different school districts to teach them about alternatives to violence.