Be the Change Summit Coming March 17, 2018
11th Annual Event presented by Snoqualmie Valley Community Network
Over the last 11 years, the Snoqualmie Valley Community Network's Be The Change Summit has evolved into a place for local teens to be inspired about making a difference. Recognizing that the youth voice is important, the Be The Change Summit is about hearing those voices, discovering inner strengths, and building foundations for leadership.
This year, the Be the Change Summit will take place on Saturday, March 17, from 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., at Chief Kanim Middle School in Fall City. This year's event faciliator is Luis Ortega, who willl be accompanied by several trained youth co-facilitators and other adult presenters from the local community to address this year's youth selected topics of: Taming Stress & Anxiety, Healthy Relationships with Family & Friends, The Science of Happiness, Mindfulness & Meditation, and more.
Ortega is the founder of Storytellers for Change, an organization started in 2010 with the mission of bringing a message of empathy and inclusion to more than 1,000 schools and events across the United States. He also has done work internationally, and locally, for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Recently, our Communications Coordinator, Mike Ward, talked with the Snoqualmie Valley Community Network's Executive Director, Laura Smith, about the upcoming Summit and the impact the program has had over the last 11 years on youth in our communities.
Q: Take us through the history of the event. When did it first begin?
A: This is the 11th Annual Be the Change Summit. Originally, the Snoqualmie Valley Community Network would select one or two students (using an essay contest) to send to an annual national leadership conference. In 2007, we determined that there are so many remarkable students in our area that we could not select just one or two. Instead, we decided to create a national caliber summit right here in East King County.
Q: What are some benefits/examples of positive impacts the Be the Change Summit has had on our middle school-aged youth who have attended in years’ past?
A: The event is so powerful because students enter the door a little nervous and unsure, then leave with the confidence that they can make a difference in their local community. Additionally, this year we are really focusing in on offering workshops designed to help students build their toolbox of healthy coping strategies. We hear all too often about the high stress levels students face, and it is our goal to equip them with successful stress management strategies that may have impact on their happiness and outlook.
Additionally, we survey all participating students and Be the Change participants. Some of our recent data tells us:
- 99% of attendees reported feeling that the event will help them make safe and healthy choices.
- 93% of attendees reported that the event inspired them to talk to their friends and encourage them to make safe and healthy choices.
- 93% of attendees felt that because of this event, they know they can make an impact on the community.
- 58% of attendees reported that because of this event they will volunteer, participate, and/or support programs and services in the community that help prevent youth substance abuse. (Please note 33% of attendees reported that they already participate in the community in this way).
- 96% of attendees agree or strongly agree that their community supports healthy behavior.
Words like "Welcoming", "Friendly", "Fun", and "Inspiring" were the highest rated descriptive words used by attendees to describe the event.
Q: How has the program evolved and what goals do you have both in the immediate and near-distant future?
A: When Be the Change first started, it was primarily designed to help youth build their capacity for leading change in their communities. The event has continued to evolve and now the topics offered are initially suggested by middle school students themselves! We ask them to tell us what they think would be most beneficial to them and then we build the event around that.
The Snoqualmie Valley Community Network proudly hosts and organizes the event annually, with the Riverview School District, the Snoqualmie Valley School District, SOUND: The Forefront of Behavioral Health, and Friends of Youth serving as co-sponsors and partners for this year's Summit.
To register for the 11th Annual Be the Change Summit, please click the poster image above or visit the event page at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2018-be-the-change-summit-tickets-43265836281
To learn more about Luis Ortega and Storytellers for Change, please visit: https://www.storytellersforchange.org/speaking-1.
If you have any additional questions, you can contact the Snoqualmie Valley Community Network via e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org.