State of the Youth Conference awards $1,000 scholarships to 100 youth, inspires civic engagement

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Music Changing Lives Founder and CEO Josiah Bruny with dozens of youth at the conference, who are all taking a quick break from workshops and team building activities.

From June 23rd to June 25th, Music Changing Lives, the Changing Lives Association, and the Institute for Public Strategies hosted a three-day conference that awarded scholarships, enriched minds, and inspired civic participation.

The 100 students that attended the conference at San Bernardino Valley College were met with workshops and exercises on topics including civic engagement, policy change, etiquette, career readiness, college pathways, financial literacy, family dynamics, self-sufficiency, nutrition, physical and mental health awareness, along with preventing drug and alcohol use  among youth.  

One of the common traits the young, motivated attendees had was elevating the quality of life for themselves and their communities. 

“We’re teaching young adults how to go out and change the narrative themselves. We already know the data.  We know what our action items are. Now we just have to go out and do the work. The key is to have the youth  go back and lead the message and not just to talk at them, but talk with them,” said Music Changing Lives Founder Josiah Bruny.

Workshops were led by non-profit founders, business CEO’s, and local government leaders, like San Bernardino Supervisor Joe Baca Jr., who provided advice for young leaders to make a difference via the government. 

“It’s not easy to move the government. You’ve got to be very focused,  diligent, and you have to learn how to  execute. Educate yourself and understand how the community works, learn about policy change and how things happen. You can have this pie in the sky idea but you have to understand who’s going to pay  for it, fund it, and support it,” said Baca. 

At the end of the three day conference all 100 of the participants received a $1,000 scholarship to cover the cost of event transportation, lunches and a professional business-ready outfit.

At the end of the conference, participants felt supported and as if they purposefully expanded their network of connections, with professional leaders, other youth hungry to improve the community, and most importantly, mentors. 

“I now have connections with people who understand where I am coming from, people who can guide me and help me get involved. I have people I can really rely on and that’s not something you can find at other conferences. I am making connections that are more personal,” said Habiba Naqv, Cal State Northridge graduate. Youth interested in applying for the mentorship program can visit www.musicchanginglives.org/soty.