1890 Research and Extension conference to focus on rural at-risk youth

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The 1890 Research and Extension program at SC State University will hold its first annual conference, which will explore the difficulties rural at-risk youth experience and provide knowledge-based solutions that will help improve the well-being of young people in South Carolina, their families and communities. The one-day conference is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 9, and will be held on SC State’s campus.

“Raising Awareness of Challenges in Rural At-Risk Youth” will join faculty and staff from across the University, in a collaborative effort, with educators from public schools in the state, elected officials, community leaders and others who work closely with children and families in rural communities.

Youth, especially those in underserved areas, often face greater challenges than their counterparts who live in communities where resources are more accessible. Lack of quality educational opportunities, unhealthy diets, negative peer pressure, little-to-no medical care, substandard living conditions and family problems are factors that often categorize youth as at-risk.

“We cannot turn our backs on children in high needs schools and communities; we must embrace their diversity and utilize them as strengths rather than negatives,” said Dr. Helen Brantley, conference chair and professor in the College of Education, Humanities and Social Sciences.

“As educators, community activists and legislators, this conference will equip us with solutions to better serve our children and their families in the 21st Century,” she said.

SC State alumnus and District 39 Senator John W. Matthews Jr. will serve as the keynote speaker at the luncheon, which also features a panel discussion by principals on “Lessons Learned and Best Practices.” Following his address, the senator will receive a special gift of appreciation from SC State President Andrew Hugine Jr.

Topic sessions are wide-ranging and based on many of 1890 Research and Extension’s focus areas, including: education, youth and family development; agriculture; environment, health and human nutrition; and community, leadership and economic development.

Though open to the public, in-service teachers are particularly encouraged to participate; continuing education credits will be provided to educators who attend three or more workshops. On-site registration will be available for persons who want to attend the conference. Participants will be required to complete a registration form and pay a $35 registration fee. For more information, contact Demeturia Kelly at (803) 536-8796 or Keesha Pelzer at (803) 536-8971.