NAACP youth host priority summit

Published 12:07 am Wednesday, August 24, 2011

As part of a nationwide initiative, a local NAACP youth group will host an event this week to help young people to better themselves and their futures.

The Nansemond Suffolk Youth Council of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is holding a youth summit to deal with the issue of misplaced priorities for children and teenagers in the community.

The summit will take place Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at Tabernacle Christian Church, 2500 E. Washington St. It is open to the public and geared for children and teenagers ages seven to 18.

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Council president Tyron Riddick said young people tend to put more value in material items than in substantial life experiences.

“They put image over education,” he said. “A lot of youth will spend $500 or more for rims on a car instead of putting that money toward an education.”

The group had the idea to focus on evaluating misplaced priorities after reviewing the national NAACP’s report on the issue.

“We came up with an idea to wake our youth up,” Riddick said. “What we are hoping to do is to wake them up to evaluate their priorities.”

To get the attendees’ attention immediately, the event will kick off with a mock funeral to demonstrate the worst-case scenario of what can happen if your life isn’t in order.

“Unfortunately, that’s the only way our youth get the message,” Riddick said. “All of our youth are afraid of death, but the way they are living, if they don’t change, they will spend their lives in one of two boxes — either a prison cell or a casket.”

After the mock funeral, there will be workshops for the guests to attend covering topics including relationships and image.

Riddick said the council started the summits in response to calls for solutions to youth violence.

He said the summits are part of providing Suffolk youth with events and organizations that keep them off of the streets and out of trouble.

Riddick said he hopes young people realize they are part of the solution to the problem.

“Our youth have been asleep and they have been neglecting and failing to realize they have a responsibility,” Riddick said. “It’s not just City Council’s fault; it’s not just your parents’ fault; it’s our fault as a whole. We must contribute as well.”

For more information on the youth summit, contact Riddick at 621-3593.