Speakers, Performers Offer Inspiration at Youth EmpowerFete
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Alexandria, La. (April 30, 2022) — Know your purpose. Make good choices. Be yourself. Those were the predominant messages Saturday afternoon at the Youth EmpowerFete at the Rapides Parish Coliseum.
Approximately 400 youth and parents crowded in front of the stage to hear from a variety of speakers, including Darrell “BFamous” Phillips, Dwayne “Difference Maker” Dupar, Dr. Keith “Skip” Fox and Pastor Sherian along with performers including Deezy2Exclusive, Soul Baby Groove, JayWillSpecial and Fredo Bang. Total attendance was estimated at 700.
“I was here to add value to the youth in the City of Alexandria. I think the event went really well,” Difference Maker Dupar said. “I think if the City of Alexandria keeps events like this coming we will definitely see a change. It may not be a change that takes place overnight, but we will definitely see a change for the better because the kids were engaged in the Q&A. I think a lot of value was added, and I think the kids absorbed some information that can help them become better people moving forward.”
In his presentation, Difference Maker stressed that anything is possible if you are willing to work to achieve it. “When I was a kid, I came to this Coliseum. Monster trucks, wrestling, the circus – whatever they brought we came,” he said. “And when I heard the person on the mic, I dreamed that was me. And now, here I am today.”
Arthur F. Smith School Principal Keandra Ford, who served as co-host of the event with Peabody High School Principal Dennis Stewart, focused on talking to the young women in the crowd. “It’s OK to go at your own pace,” she said. “Know who you are, stand on your choices and stand on your self-worth. As a woman, you can do anything, but you need to stand on your self-worth. “
Even some of the entertainers scheduled took advantage of the opportunity to share their personal stories to help inspire the youth. “It may seem like you are trapped, but you have to look beyond your situation,” noted JayWillSpecial. “I’ve been through what you are going through. My purpose is to keep you from going through what I went through and from feeling what I felt. When you’re 14-15 you just want to be popular. If I could talk to my 9th grade self, I would tell him not to focus on that – there’s nothing in popularity.”
Mackinzi Smith and her grandmother Mentral Brown felt the program was a success. “The program was pretty good. I got the message to just be yourself and don’t let anybody stop you,” Smith said. “I supported it because I support anything that deals with the youth. We need to make a change, and because my granddaughter wanted to come I decided to bring her,” Brown said.
The final presenter, Pastor Sherian, closed with a prayer and a reminder to the young people to take charge of their own lives and to avoid distractions that can lead to poor choices. “Too many people are following and not enough are leading. We are being shaped by our culture,” he said. “Don’t be a copycat. Just be you. Be the best you you can be.”
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