"The theme for this year's event is good is not enough," said Washington, chairman of the Teen Summit. "The meaning behind this theme is -- as you know the Teen Summit is geared toward males and -- sometimes teenagers, adults too, we assume or just think that, 'Just so long as I've done my part that's good enough.' And the reason why we chose this theme this year is to say, 'Just doing your part is not good enough. In order to be successful and to achieve great things, you have to go above and beyond the norm in order to get some of the basic things out of life, especially with today's economy' ... We [also] want them to be inspired.
"The goal of this year's Teen Summit, as well as the summits in the past years, [is] for the youth to leave with a feeling of being motivated, motivated to go out into the schools, into the respective communities and be all that they can be and not accepting 'no' for an answer. Not necessarily questioning things, but always looking for opportunities to innovate, like if someone tells you 'no,' to be able to use your brain and think of ways to do things outside of the box."
While past summits have focused on small group workshops, this year's will offer more interactive activities, such as team-building exercises for middle school students and college-related programs for high-schoolers. High school sophomores to seniors will receive information, such as SAT preparation and applying for financial aid, and then find materials on various schools at a mini-college fair. New Frontier members Rev. Carlos Calhoun and Dr. Maurice Wilson also will lead sessions on bullying and selecting a college, respectively. Registration for the Teen Summit will begin at 8 a.m.
"We're trying to empower these young men to use the lessons they've learned from this event to change not only their community but the world as well," said Bryan Canty, president of New Frontier, a black men's service organization known for its largest community outreach project -- Feed the Community Dinner in November. "So who knows where the next future leaders are coming from if they're not properly cultivated, and that's our mission. [In the past] we've had some very powerful speakers. We had Keith Henderson, a former professional football player from Cartersville, and we had Marcus Moore who is a former gang leader.
"[He] had a very, very powerful testimony just last year that really had the young men mesmerized when he threw down his gang colors and talked about how at one point in his life he would have killed for those colors. But when he threw it down and then he stomped on them, he said, 'That's what it means to [me] now.' It was amazing testimony. It's amazing the resources that we have within our own community, whether it's people who are giving tips on how to succeed or people giving you their testimony of where they went wrong and now how they're trying to [change] their lives. Either way, the kids are learning from it and they're establishing a reference point as far as where they want their lives to go."
For more information, call Washington at 678-476-2799 or visit New Frontier's website, www.thenewfrontierinc.org.