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Conference at Southside offers mind shift for youth

CHOCOWINITY — With so many voices influencing their perceptions of the world, it’s easy for young people to fall into negative mindsets that lead to self-destructive behavior. But for local youth in Beaufort County, an annual conference hosted by Southside High School’s Distinguished Men of Purpose will offer words of wisdom to help teens shift their minds in a positive direction.

This marks the third year of the Youth Shift Conference at Southside. From 8:30 to 3 p.m. March 14, middle and high school boys and girls alike can participate in the conference, which will will feature a series of motivational speakers.

“The Youth Shift Conference is basically providing knowledge to youth so they can shift the way they think,” said Distinguished Men of Purpose advisor Sam Williams. “We have speakers dealing with education and providing empowerment to do more, go the extra mile and not give up.”

Speakers at the event include Greenville attorney Tyrell Clemons, public speaking expert Joshua Burney, Eastern Community Care Foundation and Clear Point founder Anthony Tyre, student services professional Dr. Jennifer Burruss, career goals expert Brandi Bragg, 2nd Judicial District Chief District Court Judge Regina Parker, business development expert G. Todd Taylor, A New Adventure owner Latisha Moore and Pitt County Sheriff Paula Dance.

“We have sessions where everybody will be in the room together and then we have breakout sessions where we’ll split the males and females up,” Williams said. “We’ll have female speakers that will be focused on the mindset of a woman and male speakers focused on the mindset of a man.”

For the youth who have attended previous conferences, Williams said he has seen them leave inspired.

“It all started out with our conversation with guys in the group, asking what we need in our community,” Williams said. “There aren’t many youth conferences or summits around our community. They wanted to attend something that would give them the knowledge they need at the same place in the same day.”

Middle school and high school students are all welcome to participate, and the conference is free for all who attend, with lunch donated by Subway. For more information, visit the DMOP Facebook page at @shsdmop. Registration can be accessed by searching “Youth Shift Conference” at www.eventbrite.com.