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Tavis Smiley Leadership Conference Begins Today

 Los Angeles, CA -- Young leaders from across the country will join Tavis Smiley, Antwone Fisher and Grammy-winning gospel artist Erica Campbell for five days of leadership training, education, community service, engagement and an opportunity to spread awareness about the prevention of youth obesity.

The annual conference themed, NEVER TOO YOUNG TO CHANGE THE WORLD, will be held today through Aug. 23 on the campus of the University of Los Angeles, California (UCLA). The 150 teen delegates, representing 16 states, were selected for participation based on academic achievement, demonstrated leadership skills, an essay and a recommendation letter. A key component of the Institute is the foundation's 13-member National Youth Advisory Council. These teen alumni help design and run the Institute.

The conference sessions will be at Tom Bradley International Hall and DeNeve Plaza, 351 Charles E. Young Drive, Los Angeles, CA. Student registration is closed.

Keynote sessions of the conference will be streamed live on the foundation's website at www.youthtoleaders.org beginning with the Teen Town Hall meeting moderated by Smiley on Friday, August 20 at 7:30 pm PST.


Acclaimed writer and director, Antwone Fisher, will discuss his new book, A Boy Should Know How to Tie a Tie: and Other Lessons for Succeeding in Life. Fisher's autobiographical screenplay, Antwone Fisher was directed by Denzel Washington in 2002. Erica Campbell, a member the gospel group Mary Mary, will share life lessons from the book she wrote with her sister, Tina Atkins-Campbell, called Be U: Be Honest, Be Beautiful, Be Intentional, Be Strong, Be You!

The purpose of the Leadership Institute is to train young people for leadership through action-oriented workshops, plenary sessions, interactive activities and a community service project. Delegates will have a unique opportunity to compete for start-up seed funding to start a youth-led business or community service program. And, the students will paint and beautify the campus of the New Designs Charter School in Los Angeles.

Regarding youth and health issues, this year's program will include a workshop on healthy eating and exercise to prevent youth obesity to coincide with the foundation's Walk Like a Leader Campaign.

Since May, the foundation staff and 100 supporters nationwide pledged to collectively walk 5,000 miles in their communities by Aug. 16 to show their commitment to a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise. The team surpassed its goal with a total of 5,432 miles on Aug. 15. The youth delegates will complete a two-mile fun walk in celebration of the campaign.


About the Tavis Smiley Foundation
The Tavis Smiley Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded in 1999 by Tavis Smiley to enlighten, encourage, and empower youth by providing leadership skills that will promote and enhance the quality of life for their lives, their community and the world. Since its inception, more than 6,000 youth have participated in the foundation's leadership workshops and conferences. The foundation is based in Los Angeles. 

 



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