Palm Beach County Organizations Came Together to Host Successful Virtual Youth Summit to Promote Building a Better You, Future and Community  

This spring, community partners in Palm Beach County came together to begin planning for the Palm Beach County Youth Summit, a momentous event that gathers more than 600 local middle and high school students, community groups, volunteers, and law enforcement for a day of empowerment, education, and great entertainment.   

In Palm Beach County, thousands of youth face opportunity gaps that prevent them from reaching their potential. These gaps not only affect the individual young people and their families, but also prevent them from fully contributing to the community and the economy, thus impacting us all.   

Collaboration and partnership were the keys to this year’s first virtual presentation of the Youth Summit. Since its founding in 2011, Marcia Bahia from Palm Beach Sherriff’s office, and collaboration from the Urban League, recognized the need to offer young people with conference-styled workshops and conversations to promote leadership skills and hands-on learning. In 2011, they hosted more than 100 teens and through assistance and continued collaboration the event grew in attendance to more than 600 teens coming together at Palm Beach Lakes High School. COVID-19 changed the dynamics of how the event could operate, so this year planners Myhosi Ashton, Marcia Bahia, Rex Barnes, Jaime-Lee Bradshaw, Shirlon St Amour, Susan Foley, Andrea Hurtado, Lilian Kanna, Alexa Lee, Breanna Lewis, Ana Martinez, Corey Murphy, Will Romelus, came together to think big: “how could we provide an interactive virtual platform to model the need in the current time and era of a pandemic?”   

“Being part of this collaborating moment was exciting, as a coach offering support to guest speakers and sharing how to engage teens virtually was helpful since Prime Time proved this when COVID first began; we could virtually do anything. All the members of this committee contributed realistic goals and ideas along with their own skills to support the project to its end. It was incredible to see it accomplished!”  – Andrea Hurtado, Quality Advisor, Prime Time Palm Beach County  

On June 27, 2022, the Youth Summit went live with its three-day event to provide open access to interested local middle and high school-aged youth with a unique opportunity to explore and address areas of concern impacting them through interactive virtual workshops and activities. These included insightful presentations and life-changing information on the topics of career and education planning, healthy relationships and preventative care, crime and bullying prevention, mental health, substance abuse prevention, health issues, leadership, social justice, financial literacy and any current topics of concern. In total, the Summit received more than 1,700 views on YouTube (Youth Summit of Palm Beach County).   

Hands-on activities, exciting topics for discussion, prizes and community service hours were offered to attendees. Parents had the opportunity to join Time for Your Teen, a workshop that aimed to influence parent-child communication and promote healthy development.  

“All the speakers brought their best game to educate and inform youth of next best steps. The moderators kept the momentum going with help from Digital Vibez. The highlight were the youth involved! That is the key – peer to peer connection.” – Susan Foley, Project Specialist, Palm Beach County Behavioral Health Coalition 

“The positive energy during the summit was palpable, even in the studio space. Everything came together beautifully—in no small part due to the enthusiasm of each guest speaker and the hard work of the event leads and crew behind the scenes. So many individuals partnered to make this year’s summit a success. What I loved most, though, was seeing how engaged the young people were at home and in summer camps; we received so many great questions in the live chat each day, along with lots of photos of youth doing activities and enjoying the summit!” – Anton Spalding, Middle School PD Specialist, Prime Time Palm Beach County 

Day one themed Building a Better You was hosted by Prime Time Palm Beach County Middle School Specialist Anton Spalding.  Anton facilitated Q&A sessions that included questions from attendees to Palm Beach County Health Coalition, Digital Vibez and Palm Beach County Victim Services.   

Day two themed Building a Better Future, moderated by Susan Foley, Project Specialist, Palm Beach County Behavioral Health Coalition. The day opened with a Prime Time’s Teen Advisory Council video called Youth Panel Discussion that was moderated by Josiah Manners, a member of Palm Beach County Youth Services Department Future Leaders United for Change Countywide Youth Council.   

Day three themed Building a Better Community was hosted by Prime Time Palm Beach County Quality Advisor Andrea Hurtado. Andrea facilitated Q&A sessions that included questions from attendees to the Palm Beach County Behavior Health Coalition Teen Coalition in Action, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, Community Partners of South Florida and Compass Community Center.