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Teen Summit brings fun and learning

The Suffolk Parks and Recreation Department hosted an interactive community outreach program for local teenagers this weekend as they prepared to head back to school.

On Friday, Suffolk Parks and Recreation hosted a block party from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Constant’s Wharf. More than 100 teens and parents were in attendance. Several city officials and police officers were also in attendance.

On the grounds, there was a main stage with a DJ booth, concessions, tents from various organizations and games and other activities.

A handful of teens and dance groups Iconz and The Lady Iconz performed by the main stage.

The following day, the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts hosted the main event, the fifth annual Teen Summit, from 8 a.m. to noon.

“It is one of my favorite events,” said Lakita Watson, director of Suffolk Parks and Recreation.

The event, targeted to ages 11 to 17, is part of the Suffolk Initiative on Youth Crime Prevention Plan. The program, introduced in 2006 by the city council, appointed a task force of city and community representatives to address youth crime and violence.

Parents and adults who work with youth were also encouraged to attend the summit.

The theme of the day was “perseverance.”

“Sometimes young people find themselves with something that can possibly hold them back,” Watson said last month. “We want to share with them ways that they can deal with adverse situations and still come out positive.”

There were several interactive breakout classes targeting topics such as teen dating, eating healthy and living well and bullying. There was also a panel discussion, moderated by Watson, with youth and some of the session facilitators.

The summit was followed by an after-party at the Booker T. Washington Joint Use Recreation Center from 12:30 to 2 p.m. Youth danced and participated in various activities and giveaways.