Broward County Youth Empowered at 2-Day Leadership Summit
Parkland resident Vincent Ciullo {middle} with Elizabeth Insuasti and Ava Havidic.

By Sharon Aron Baron

Broward County High School and Middle School students recently participated in an annual two-day Youth Leadership Institute event hosted by the United Way of Broward County’s Commission on Behavioral Health & Drug Prevention’s Broward Youth Coalition.

The Youth Leadership Institute is tailored for young students, with this year’s activities taking place both virtually and in person at Nova Southeastern University. Over 185 attendees joined the virtual session on day one, and more than 140 attendees attended the in-person session on day two.

The hybrid arrangement allowed for wider participation, bridging the gap between virtual and physical interaction amidst the challenging times.

Promoting mental health, advancing public speaking, supporting youth advocacy, and preventing substance use were the primary themes of the summit. It was a free event, allowing students from different socio-economic backgrounds to participate, learn, and engage. The event also hosted special guests and provided an opportunity for participants to attend several peer-to-peer sessions led by seven BYC student presenters.

One of the highlights of the summit was The Power of Poetry Workshops. This creative program was designed to encourage self-expression among the youth and to provide them with a platform to voice their opinions.

During the in-person session on June 15, attendees had the unique opportunity to hear from the keynote speaker, Dr. Simone Alicia, renowned as The Self Esteem Doctor. Dr. Alicia is acclaimed for her work in helping individuals to build their self-esteem and self-confidence. The students also had the chance to attend a public speaking workshop, wherein they learned how to establish genuine connections with their audience when presenting.

Not only was the event enriching from a learning perspective, but it also offered students the chance to earn community service hours. Fun activities were sprinkled throughout the two-day event, with special prizes and giveaways up for grabs.

If a student is interested in getting involved, they can visit

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Author Profile

Sharon Aron Baron
Sharon Aron Baron
Sharon Aron Baron is a Parkland resident and editor of Talk Media. She has been covering Parkland news since 2012. Parkland Talk was created to provide News, Views, and Entertainment for the residents of Parkland.
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