More than 125 foster youth attended the Youth Empowerment Summit (Y.E.S.) September 28 at the University of Louisville Shelby Campus. True Up and other child advocacy groups sponsored the summit that focused on kids helping kids succeed as adults. The event was planned by young people and all workshop and keynote presenters were youth.

“Smash the Past, Blast Your Future!” was the theme chosen by young people to highlight the importance of taking responsibility for the future regardless of past circumstances. The summit was designed to empower young people, by providing them with some of the resources needed for future success.
“This is the first time for me to attend the YES event and it was fantastic,” said Nikki Thornton, Director of Program Operations for True Up. “I left feeling even more inspired and hopeful for the future of the youth who attended.”

Topics covered in the summit included education, banking and finance, getting a driver’s license, meal planning and voter registration. A resource panel, workshops and field day activities were part of the day-long event.

Teresa James, Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Community Based Services, was on hand to deliver opening remarks and welcome youth to the summit. Ian Rosser delivered the keynote address, with the 24-year old graduate of Eastern Kentucky University sharing experiences from his 13 years in foster care.

The summit was geared toward youth ages 14 to 23 and their caregivers, arming foster youth with the information that will help them make the successful transition to adulthood. True Up was pleased to be able to help with the effort, with dozens of people visiting its booth. In addition to the helpful information they gathered, several youth were pleased to walk away with Subway gift cards.

There were nearly two dozen informational and resource booths at the event, with this being the second year of the Youth Empowerment Summit. Y.E.S is expected to be back next year, with youth again helping youth.