Young people are now back home energized and ready to “build” their personal brand after attending a teen leadership conference in St. Paul. The Minneapolis Jack and Jill of America chapter last week hosted the four-day 61st annual Mid-Western Regional Teen Leadership Conference.
Nearly 400 teenagers from Minnesota, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio and Kentucky attended the event at the University of St. Thomas. This year’s theme was “Building MY Brand: The Power of WE Starts with ME.” Organizers say that the conference’s purpose is “to cultivate leadership skills, instill confidence, improve political awareness and encourage a positive self-image” for teenagers ages 13-19.
“Each chapter gets to host every 15 years, so we are very excited to host [this year],” explained 2015 Conference Chair Twanya Hood Hill. “We actually started planning a year and a half ago.”
About 20 teens from the local chapter were among last week’s participants, noted Hood Hill. The conference’s “two large accomplishments” are leadership skills and community service. “All of our teenagers are learning service skills and learning what service leadership means,” she said.
“The youth were very excited to be cheerful givers” to families and adults, said Hands On Twin Cities’ Rose Maanum, who helped arrange the seven community service projects for the young people’s conference.
During a morning rally, Ameriprise Financial Diversity and Inclusion Vice President Rudy Rodriquez spoke to the youngsters and told them how impressive their enthusiasm was prior to heading out to their community service projects.
Rodriquez afterwards told the MSR that Ameriprise encourages their employees to be involved with community events and has been involved with Jack and Jill in the past. “We’ve been involved through our employees,” he stated. Hood Hill is an Ameriprise employee.
“Every year our employees give more than 8,000 volunteer hours, and we donate over 12 million dollars’ worth of resources to the community,” said the executive.
“We are thrilled to be here and be part of this group,” said Maanum, who added that they want the participants “to take the experience” back to their respective communities.
“Giving back to the community is what Jack and Jill is all about,” concluded Hennepin County Fourth District Judge Tanya Bransford, a chapter member.
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