ST. CLOUD -- "I want my voice to be heard -- Now!"

That was the theme for the 14th Annual Civic Engagement Leadership Conference with Youth held today (Thursday).

About 130 students from 10 different schools gathered at St. Cloud State University, to discuss ways to improve the quality of life in our community.

Kevin LaNave is the Director with the Center for Service-Learning and Social Change. He says youth are a vital resource to our community.

"Our center believes youth are an under-tapped resource in our community. They have great ideas and energy to make the quality of life better," says LaNave.

Students in grades 6-8, were able to participate in over 18 activities addressing specific issues.

Student leader Tiana Neu says the conference is a great tool for students looking to become leaders.

"Here they will have the resources to know how to do something, and they can learn things they are passionate about and find ways to get involved," says Neu.

The conference is held twice a year with high school students participating in the fall.

LaNave says the youth that attend not only learn something new, but bring something to the table.


Students work hard during one of the workshops at Civic Engagement Leadership Conference. (PHOTO: Alex Svejkovsky, WJON News)