The Ryan Cameron Foundation has teamed up with the Allstate Foundation for its 4th Annual Youth Anti-Violence Forum. The forum will be held on Saturday, March 23 from 10am-2pm and will take place at The Salvation Army Kroc Center located at 967 Dewey Street, Atlanta, GA 30313.

“Ryan has always been a person with his ear to the ground as far as the youth,” said Tracye Bryant, CEO of RCF. “He wanted to give the youth an outlet to express themselves and the things going on around them.”

Although the forum is not open to the public, students who are invited to the forum are participants of the RCF Youth Anti-Violence Contest which began in December. The contest boasts more than 200 youth participants ranging from grades 3 to 12. All students who are invited to the forum submitted original works such as poetry, artwork or public service announcements with the topic of teen safe driving or bullying.

“I think it is essential that teens are given an opportunity to discuss the things that are going on with and around them,” said D’Janae Bolton, a sociology major at Clark Atlanta University who volunteers with the Tupac Shakur Foundation. “Times have changed and teens now are able to engage in a lot more things than their parents could have, like cyber bullying, so we definitely need more programs like this where teens can talk things out.”

Participants of the contest will have the opportunity to engage in workshops and panel discussions pertaining to teen safe driving, bullying/cyber bullying, domestic violence, gang violence, child sex trafficking and teen dating violence. Among those invited include agents from the FBI who will host a segment on cyber bullying. The Fulton County Sheriff and members of the Atlanta Police Homicide Department are also expected to discuss gang violence.

The winners of the contest will be recognized and awarded during the forum. Awards for the 3rd-5th grade winners include $100 cash and a pizza party for their class. The 6th -12th grade winners will receive the following in the form of cash and gift cards: 1st place-$1,500, 2nd place-$1,000, 3rd place-500.

RCF hopes to spark conversation about things that concern the youth and their parents while also looking for resources to better help the youth.

“These are our future leaders,” said Semaj Andrews, who works with non-profit youth organizations in the Atlanta area. “Events and opportunities like this are actually helping our youth to become better leaders. I appreciate Ryan Cameron for doing this and for being so hands on. This event just might change someone’s life or spark the interests of someone who may change the lives of others.”

Although this is an exclusive event, members of the Ryan Cameron Foundation encourage the public to visit the foundation’s website at http://www.ryancameron.org.

UPDATE: Previous version of the story incorrectly said that this was the 5th anti-violence forum. The contest is in its fifth year, but this is the fourth year of the forum.

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