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Date: May 06, 2004

Conference connects youth to each other and community services

Connecting youth with each other and the community services that support them in choosing healthier, safer lifestyles is the focus of “Youth Connecting: Building Bridges,” a day-long conference sponsored by School District #61’s “Healthy Schools Project” and UVic’s Centre for Youth and Society. Students chosen from the district’s middle and secondary schools will listen to speakers and attend workshops at S.J. Willis School on May 7 as well as tour organizations in the community.

The conference begins with a keynote address by Dr. James Chestnut, a chiropractor with a holistic approach to wellness, at 8:45 a.m. Then the middle school students have their choice of workshops offered by community organizations offering fitness activities such as dance and kickboxing and services such as drug and suicide awareness.

At the same time, the secondary students, led by UVic grad students from the faculty of education’s counseling program, will board buses for visits to community organizations that serve youth. Among the stops are a community-run yoga centre and Project Respect, a program offered by the Women’s Sexual Assault Centre, promoting respectful intimate relationships.

During the lunch hour, conference participants can tour an information fair to learn more about the various community groups. Between 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. the secondary students will deliver presentations about their field trips to the middle school students in a format of their choosing (spoken word, dance, hip-hop).

“The Centre for Youth and Society conducts research all year, often with and through the youth agencies that will be represented at the conference,” says Dr. Ted Riecken, the centre’s director. “These annual conferences allow us to connect directly with youth to hear what they have to say and learn what their priorities are. They also provide a chance to give something back to the youth and provide opportunities for them to connect with their community.”

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Media contacts:
Members of the media are invited to attend the conference. They may also accompany a designated tour with the secondary students. For further information prior to the conference contact Dr. Ted Riecken (Education) at (250) 721-6346 or triecken@uvic.ca. At the conference, contact Cindy Bachop, coordinator for the Centre for Youth and Society or Marnice Jones, coordinator, Healthy Schools Project

UVic media releases and other resources for journalists are available on the World Wide Web at http://communications.uvic.ca/media

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