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Young leaders voice their greatest concerns in Jacksonville

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Young leaders are working with a Jacksonville congressman to voice their greatest concerns in the River City though a town hall-style meeting.

The group leading the charge is The Young Leaders of Today. On Monday night, it gathered at FSCJ’s downtown campus for its “State Of The Youth” meeting. The forum incorporated the I’m A Star Foundation, Mayor Lenny Curry’s Young Leaders Advisory Council and Lee High School’s EVAC program.

The big topics, set by the students, included mental health, violence and quality of education.

"Mental health and physical health are equally as important,” said Athena Chialtas with Young Leaders of Today. “ I hope that we can enlighten people on the true meaning of mental health and how important it is.”

The point of the program is to open dialogue and educate the community about the concerns of young people. 

“We want to be able to break down those barriers, those economic barriers, those social barriers, those racial barriers,” said Rodney Wells, president of The Young Leaders of Today. “If we're going to find real solutions, you have to get a little uncomfortable. You have to be able to bring in different perspectives.”

During the event, audience cards were filled out so the panel could address specific questions on the spot. Organizers called it a major opportunity for adults to let young voices be heard, and understood.

About the Author:

Kent Justice co-anchors News4Jax's 5 p.m., 10 and 11 p.m. newscasts weeknights and reports on government and politics. He also hosts "This Week in Jacksonville," Channel 4's hot topics and politics public affairs show each Sunday morning at 9 a.m.