Orlando debuts Youth Empowerment Summit

By : Alyssa Merwin
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Orlando – For the first time ever, Orlando City Hall will host a youth empowerment event targeted at LGBTs.

The Central Florida Youth Empowerment Summit will run from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 1. The free event is presented by The Gay, Lesbian, & Straight Education Network along with Orlando Youth Alliance (OYA) and Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.
According to City Commissioner Patty Sheehan, the summit is the first of its kind in Orlando.

“What we’re doing is letting [LGBT] youth know about services and what they can do if they’re bullied in school.”
Sheehan said. “They’re getting kicked out of their homes and are not accepted by their own families and there are a lot of services available to them.”

Russ Kasim, OYA board member, said the event will feature workshops on making schools safer, internet safety and there will be transgender speakers.

We’re also having a talk on how to establish Gay Straight Alliances,” Kasim said. “The Orlando Police Department will talk about having a more inclusive school and there will also be question and answer.”

The summit isn’t just for the younger generation. According to Kasim, there will be information, services and resources available to parents of LGBT youth.

It’s a way for youth to come out and know there are resources and people who care, Kasim said. They can be empowered.

There’s a Youth Empowerment Summit slated for Tampa, but the date has not yet been determined.

In addition to free admission, complimentary parking will be available and breakfast and lunch will be provided. To register, visit CFYes.org.

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