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Release: April 4, 2001

UI to host Iowa City Youth Summit April 20

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa will host Iowa City's first-ever youth summit for area sixth-graders Friday, April 20 as part of National Youth Service Day.

Seventy students have been selected as representatives to the summit based on a 500-word essay that all participating sixth-graders were asked to write stating "How Kids Can Make a Difference." Sixth-graders wrote essays on pollution, racism, child labor, gun control and drug abuse, among other concerns. Students from Hoover, Horace Mann, Kirkwood, Lemme, Longfellow, Lucas, and Weber schools will attend the summit. All students who submitted essays will receive certificates of appreciation.

During the "Vision and Action: Iowa City Youth Summit" April 20, the selected students will take part in a variety of activities focused on learning about the local community, youth empowerment in the nation and world, and visiting and helping out at a community site (such as the Senior Center, United Action for Youth and the Iowa City Public Library). At the end of the day, the students will present to the Iowa City City Council their own ideas about how youth can make a difference.

"I think the transition from elementary school to junior high is a big step," said event organizer Rahima Wade, an associate professor in the UI College of Education's Division of Curriculum and Instruction. "And I think that the preadolescent age is when kids really start venturing into their community on their own. There's just a different level of consciousness about themselves, who they are and who they want to be. All of this contributes to this being a perfect age for thinking about making a difference."

The summit also will give UI education majors an opportunity to work with young people one-on-one. Wade anticipates that there will be as many UI students taking part in the event as there will be sixth-graders.

Wade said the idea for the event came about after she spoke with Iowa City government leaders and school officials. "The city and the school district have really been wonderful in helping to plan the event," Wade said.

The cost for attending the event is free for participants and is covered by community donations from Hy-Vee and McDonalds as well as University of Iowa service-learning funds.

For more information, people may contact Rahima Wade at 335-5118, or via e-mail at