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Saturday, July 22, members of Mirror’s Youth as Resources program attended the Points on Light “Ready Set Go” leadership training at the Meridian Center in Newton. The training, which focused on educating and inspiring youth to design and carry out service projects in their community, was led by Points of Light Director of Education Programs, Vonnetta West and was made possible through a grant that was awarded to Mirror through the Kansas Healthy Foundation. West of Atlanta, flew in to preform the training. Along with her role as program director, she is an experienced leadership developer, host of The Gather on BossFM, pastor of “Our Neighbor’s House” and global citizen.

All six local YAR teams including Halstead, Burrton, Newton, Sedgwick, Hesston and Peabody had youth in attendance. In total, 30 leaders and 6 local adults participated in the training. To begin the day, West shared a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr which stated, “Somewhere we must come to see that human progress never rolls in on the wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless efforts and the persistent work of dedicated individuals..” reminding the youth that they are key players in making positive community change. Newton Mayor, Barth Hague then followed, stating that youth are powerful community resources that they are not just the “future leaders”, but rather they are “today’s leaders.” Setting the stage for the day. Teams were then equipped with advice and inspiration to implement their service projects and spent the afternoon designing a project that they will bring back to their towns to implement. Each town will be awarded a stipend and assistance to carry out their plan.