Teens Learn about Justice, Tolerance, Violence at Youth Symposium

Penn State Wilkes-Barre recently hosted a Youth Symposium that brought together more than 300 area high school students to learn skills that will help them properly address the contemporary issues of justice, tolerance, and violence.

Youth Symposium Committee Chair Theresa Kline, Luzerne County First District Attorney Jeffrey Tokach and Penn State's Director of Academic Affairs Theodora Jankowski began the program by welcoming the students to this year's Symposium, "Life's the Real Deal? Not a Reality Show."

The students then spent the day in various workshops ranging from "Toxic Technology," which addressed the risks and possible consequences of sharing too much information on the Internet; to "Trapped in the Gang Life," which highlighted the dangers of gang activity. Other popular topics included healthy snacking, laws pertinent to the high school students and handling adolescent stress.

The afternoon was reserved for more hands-on activities, providing students with a chance to climb a rock wall, engage in team building exercises, learn what it takes to become a Pennsylvania State Police Trooper, operate a DUI simulator and explore the world through impairment goggles.

Keynote speaker Alma Johnson also addressed the group, reading the poem she composed about her experiences of stealing money, getting caught, and being processed through the juvenile justice system. She continued by sharing the difficult time and enormous effort that it takes to be accountable for your actions and to make amends to your victim and the community.  Johnson emphasized that though she was fortunate not to spend time in jail, she does have a criminal record, an obstacle that can and does make life difficult.

For more information on the Youth Symposium, please contact Marshall R Davis, Director of the Administration of Justice Program at Penn State Wilkes-Barre, at [email protected] or 570-675-9264.

Youth Symposium Photo Collage