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Youth Engagement Summit provides fun activities for local kids

By Crystal Burns

The Peabody High School Little Theater was transformed into a Price Is Right showcase-style game show last week on the first of a three-night Youth Engagement Summit.

A DJ kept the crowd hyped between questions while the host tested the competitors’ knowledge of pop culture, ‘70s music, and more, occasionally sliding in a serious question about the consequences of distracted driving, drinking alcohol, doing drugs, and more. The Thankfast Game Show gave participants opportunities to win gift cards through a series of fun challenges like singing and dancing. The four top competitors then squared off to win $140 in gift cards.

Ari’yana Hall, a rising eighth grader at Trenton, won the main event.

She and several of her friends along with plenty of new faces were back at Peabody the following evening to play laser tag in the Tronsystem Cube, a large inflatable course that filled the gym.

Local blues-rock group Elam McKnight Band and singer/songwriter Margie Chadburn wrapped up the summit on Wednesday night.

Chadburn, who worked two jobs for over a year to earn enough money to record her own album, encouraged kids to find their purpose and work towards it.

“When you find your purpose and know who you are, you will move mountains,” she said.

Chadburn is currently finishing up her third studio album in Los Angeles where she is recording in Randy Jackson’s studio.

The No Pressure Youth Group sponsored the summit, which was funded by a state grant, Trenton Housing Authority, and local partners. Rhonda Casey, who works with the No Pressure group, said today’s teenagers don’t get enough instruction on how to be active in their communities.

“The Youth Engagement Summit was put together to encourage youth to become involved in positive, motivating youth groups, whether it is an existing one or they can join No Pressure Youth,” she said. “These type groups help fill in the blanks some youth have about relationships, acceptable behavior, drugs, tobacco, and much, much more. We are building positive, caring leaders in our youth.”

No Pressure Youth meet Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, 6-8 p.m. at 416 Lexington St. in Trenton. There is no charge to join.

For more information, call 855-1231.

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