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By Youth, for Youth: The 2018 Multicultural Youth Leadership Conference

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“It’s meaningful beyond belief when youth get to see people showing up for them. Someone to say ‘you matter, your next steps matter, your future matters,’” says Katie Upton, our conference organizer.

On May 5th, a group of 65 young people came together on the Champlain College campus with a goal: to build leadership skills, learn about leadership opportunities in the community, and create bonds with their peers.

The occasion was the Multicultural Youth Leadership Conference, organized by Spectrum’s Multicultural Youth Program and made possible by community members like you.

The agenda for the conference, now it its third year, is set by a Youth Advisory Council, who decides what types of workshops, activities, and resources their peers would benefit from the most.


Youth started off the day with a lively team-building exercise led by Mellisa Cain of Learning Through Laughter.

A community collaboration

The workshops at this year’s conference were led by some amazing local organizations, including the Young Writers Project, Burlington Free Press, the Community College of Vermont, King Street Center, Learning through Laughter, Bright Blue Media, Burlington High School, the University of Vermont, and the Peace & Justice Center.

Afternoon workshop were led by The Vermont Center for Independent Living, South Burlington High School, the Speak Up Roosevelt Forum (SURF), and the Community College of Vermont.


Planned Parenthood was just one of the many community organizations, job programs and volunteer-led projects that presented at the Multicultural Youth Leadership Conference resource fair in the afternoon.

Thinking back on the most memorable parts of the day, conference organizer Katie Upton mentions a student who approached her after “First Hand: Life After High School”, a workshop led by youth from King Street Center and the Community College of Vermont.

“I had a young person come up to me after ‘First Hand’ and tell me ‘This is the first time I’ve really learned what options I have when I graduate,’” says Katie.

To all of our supporters—thank you for caring about the future of youth in our community. It’s because of your compassion and generosity that this year’s Multicultural Youth Leadership Conference was possible!

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