On Friday, May 14th, 2010 the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office will host its annual World Against Violence Youth Conference. The theme for this year’s conference is “Youth Empowerment: Being Prepared for the Future.’’
Approximately 400 students from middle schools in Bloomfield, Newark, Irvington and East Orange have been invited to attend the one day summit. The event will take place at the Campus Center on the 2nd Floor at New Jersey Institute of Technology, University Heights, Newark, from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Acting Essex County Prosecutor Robert D. Laurino will give opening remarks.
The keynote speaker is Rev. Manuel Donelson, who established Teen-Nite, a national mentoring and outreach program. Rev. Donelson was the coordinator for the city of Newark’s Best Men Program. In that role he designed a program to help 400 young men abstain from drugs, alcohol, sex and violence.
Hashim Garrett, who was paralyzed at 15 years old after being shot, will also speak to the group. Despite suffering a spinal cord injury, Garrett went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University. In 2001, he founded Wisdom and Understanding, a conflict resolution and life enhancement organization that educates adolescents about the causes of conflict.
The event is sponsored by the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office in conjunction with NJIT Pre-college TRIO Program and the Clinton Hill Anti-Drug Coalition. This yearly event began in 2001.
“It is our goal to help young people realize the dangers of drugs, gangs and guns. We want to help them to make smart choices,’’ said Acting Prosecutor Laurino. “Preventing crime is as important to this office as prosecuting criminals after a crime has been committed. That is why we consider these outreach programs so critically important.’’
Students will hear from a variety of speakers and participate in breakout discussion groups dealing with issues such as gun violence, rap music, online predators, gangs, dressing properly and much more.
Other participants in the program include: Chief Assistant Prosecutor Keith Harvest; Deputy Chief Assistant Prosecutor Andrea McCoy Johnson; Assistant Prosecutor Gwendolyn Williams; Anthony C Culpepper, Jr., assistant director of Upward Bound Mathematics and Science Regional Center, NJIT; Judy Bennett of the Clinton Hill Anti-Drug Coalition; Detective Anthony Cox of the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office VIPER Unit; Detective Jeffrey C. Gains of the Essex County Sheriff’s Office; Detective Richard Gould, an expert in computer crimes; FBI Special Agent Chio Ho; Lettice C. Jones, an expert in ballistics; Gwen Moten, executive assistant for the Department of Neighborhood and Recreational Services for the City of Newark; Freddie Ruiz, a drug and alcohol counselor and Stephanie Treadwell, a member of the Newark Youth Violence Task Force.
If you need additional information, please contact Gwendolyn Williams at 973-621-4209.