Youth, mentors share vision

Published 6:27 am Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Youth and mentors from the Heart of Virginia gathered July 14 at Ellis Acres Memorial Park to participate in a Leadership for Tomorrow conference, where they were able to make connections with other youth and mentors and share their goals.

After the conference, where youth heard from several speakers and were able to speak themselves, they held a picnic where they could further network.

Wilbert Dean, founder of the conference, said the events give youth from Buckingham, Cumberland and Prince Edward County the opportunity to connect with like-minded peers and adults, and begin to think about how to best understand and plan to pursue their goals.

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“Each of the students presented on their vision,” Dean said about the event, where students submitted presentations prior to the conference, “and talked about how they were getting there, and different challenges they were facing.”

A previous Leadership for Tomorrow conference was held at Charleys Waterfront Cafe in January. Dean said he expects to hold the conferences twice a year.

Speakers included Brittany Brown, who is a speech pathologist with Farmville Rehab and Health Care Center, Tiffany Spencer and Kim Dean.

Spencer, a graduate of Buckingham County High School, has a master’s in teaching from James Madison University and spoke about overcoming challenges in her career as a teacher. Spencer relayed the first year of her experience teaching at Prince Edward County Public Schools, where she said she learned lessons of her own, which served to help her overcome challenges associated with the teaching field such as doubting her own ability or skills. Once she finished the first year, Spencer had the confidence to continue teaching.

“She finally broke through that barrier,” Wilbert said regarding Spencer’s experience.

Kim spoke about finding her passion. Kim, who received her degree in law from George Washington University, said it was 10 years before she found a career that connected with her, and currently works at the Smithsonian Museums in Washington D.C.