Jefferson County teens speak in Washington, D.C. after being selected for National Summit
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Aster Kone, an eighth-grader, was among a group of Jefferson County teenagers selected to travel to Washington, D.C. for Mikva Challenge’s first annual National Youth Summit.
The National Youth Summit brings together 100 diverse young people in Washington, D.C.
Kone and their peers talked, listened, learned and advocated for solutions to issues most important to them, including mental health, gun reform and women’s access to healthcare.
Among 13 other students, Kone spoke at the National Youth Summit’s kick-off event, Soapbox Nation.
Soapbox Nation is Mikva Challenge’s public-speaking program.
Kone’s speech encouraged educators and other adults to take student’s mental health needs seriously. They became passionate about this topic after experiencing a bad illness, which led them to feeling anxious and depressed.
“When I was younger, I talked to an adult about how I was feeling and they said, ‘You’re probably just faking it,’” Kone said. “I had perfectly good reasons to feel that way. The fact that they were ignoring me just made me upset. Asking for help takes a lot of courage.”
The Jefferson County teens’ participation in the National Youth Summit came as students’ civics scores fell on a national assessment for the first time in two decades, according to the release.
Event organizers said youth voice and participation are essential to a thriving democracy. More than 300,000 students across the country have been impacted my Mikva Challenge’s youth civic engagement programs so far this year, including more than 500 students from Jefferson County.
For more information on Mika Challenge, click or tap here.
For more information on the National Youth Summit, click or tap here.
Fore more information on Soapbox Nation, click or tap here.
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