RESPECT Participates in Inaugural EmPOWER Youth Summit

On October 27th, nine RESPECT staff members, 300+ metro area high school students, and dozens of mental health and youth serving professionals, participated in the inaugural EmPOWER Youth Summit. Organized and sponsored by The Kim Foundation, in partnership with Region 6 and the Metro Area Suicide Prevention Coalition, this day long event offered hope-filled education on mental wellness. 

Emma Benoit, a suicide attempt survivor from Louisiana, was the keynote speaker. Omaha-based singer-songwriter Jocelyn also performed, through a partnership with Boys Town National Hotline.

Students attended breakout workshop sessions throughout the day, each presented by a different community partner. RESPECT staff presented 18 workshop sessions on The Power of Diversity and Acceptance in which students learned how to be respectful of neurodivergence and strategies for standing up to identity based bullying.

In between sessions, wall size, positive message coloring posters were available for anyone who needed a creative outlet. Crisis counselors, therapy dogs and yoga were also available to students throughout the day. 

Julia Hebenstreit, Executive Director of The Kim Foundation, said, “We believe it is important to listen to our youth and the problems they face today. By partnering with them to create this EmPOWER Youth Summit, we can learn and grow together.”