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Teenagers invited to summit
Conference at NHS to focus on youth issues

COVINGTON - Teens from Newton County high schools are invited to the county's first youth conference this weekend.

From 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. Saturday, the Newton County Community Partnership is holding a youth summit, "Teens Keeping It Real," at Newton High School, which is located at 140 Ram Drive in Covington.

"Our ultimate goal is to gather students around some common goals to build relationships by identifying and addressing issues that we all face," said Laura Bertram, executive director of the Newton County Community Partnership.

The event is free and open to high school students in Newton County 14 years old and older.

At 9 a.m. a national motivational youth speaker, Keith Brown, who is a resident of Georgia and known as the "Motivator of the Millennium," will give the students a wake-up call about overcoming obstacles.

Throughout the day, students will get a free T-shirt, a free lunch from Chick-fil-A and have a chance at door prizes from community donations. The event also features a drawing for a Wii video game system that was donated.

The program will end with a spoken word poetry group from Valdosta, Poetic Magic, which will teach students how to use spoken word to express themselves and make changes.

"We hope to motivate, educate and inspire youth to be part of a positive change in Newton County," Bertram said. "This is hoping every person will find new and exciting ways to express themselves."

In collaboration with the Newton County Community Partnership, the event is sponsored by United Way, the Newton County Sheriff's Office, the Covington Police Department, Newton County Juvenile Court and the Newton County Board of Education.

Students must complete a registration form and parent permission slip to attend the event. The forms are available from school counselors or online at www.newtonpartnership.org. Students can turn them in to counselors ahead of time or bring the forms with them the day of the event.

The Partnership hopes to continue this event in the future.

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.

SideBar: If you go

· What: Teens Keeping It Real Youth Summit

· Who: Newton County high schoolers age 14 years old and up

· When: 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday

· Where: Newton High School, 140 Ram Drive, Covington

· Cost: free

· Register with a high school counselor or online at www.newtonpartnership.org.