CONCORD — Hundreds of students from across the state will tackle some of the most serious challenges facing today’s teenagers, during a Youth Summit sponsored by Dartmouth-Hitchcock on April 5 and 6.
Olympic gold medalist Hannah Kearney, who attended Hanover High School and Dartmouth College, will be the keynote speaker, and other guests will include actor, producer and director Jim Wahlberg and Ford Racing driver, coach and instructor Mike Speck.
The first day of the summit, “Knowledge, Empowerment, Understanding,” is all about the youth, with morning discussions focusing on issues such as mental health, diversity and respect, and school violence. The afternoon session will feature a presentation by pediatrician Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson about using “Social Media for Good.”
The day will conclude with the “Magnify Voices” Film and Writing Festival, featuring short films and creative writing pieces done by middle and high school students about mental health issues. New Hampshire’s first lady Valerie Sununu will welcome festival participants and the top 10 entries will be showcased.
For the second day of the summit, it’s the adults’ turn, with the theme of “They’re Talking: Are We Listening?” Organizers are encouraging parents, educators and community members to attend.
First, students will report back on the discussions held the previous day, followed by an academic panel on community-based research concerning this age group. Swanson will give the lunchtime keynote address.
The idea for the Youth Summit came out of the work of John Broderick, the former chief justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court, who is now senior director of public affairs at Dartmouth-Hitchcock. For the past three years, Broderick has traveled to high schools and community organizations across the state to raise awareness of mental illness.
“Having spoken to thousands of young people and heard many stories of suffering, it’s time we hear these kids and respond to their needs,” Broderick said.
The summit will be held at the Grappone Conference Center. For registration information and a schedule of events, visit www.dartmouth-hitchcock.org/classes_events/youth-summit.html