On Saturday, April 10, 2021, The Action Research Center hosted the annual Cutting Edge Youth Summit. The legendary event celebrates over 12 years of building youth leaders. This year, student leaders from many regions of the United States connected for the virtual Cutting Edge Youth Summit. Students and parents attended from Texas, South Carolina, New York, Washington D.C., Chicago, Illinois, and California. During this leadership conference, students, parents, teachers, and community leaders learned about the importance of leveraging cultural wealth to become agents of change.

Candice Bledsoe

Candice Bledsoe

“During these unprecedented times, we continue to transform lives and help build youth leaders,” said Dr. Candice L. Bledsoe (pictured above), executive director of the Action Research Center and founder of the Cutting Edge Youth Summit.

Dr. Michael Waters, lead pastor of Abundant Life A.M.E., served as the keynote speaker and shared an inspiring message entitled, “Be Great!”  Speakers gave tips to help prepare students for college and community leadership opportunities. Panelists also included Ana Rodriguez from SMU Latino Leadership Initiative, Lisa Winkley, President of United Nations Association-Dallas Chapter, Latrisha McDuffie, Social Emotional Learning Coordinator of Big Thought, and Jin-Ya Huang, Founder of Break Bread, Break Borders. “Raise your voices, and use your superpowers for good,” said Huang.

Kortni Foreman

Kortni Foreman

During the summit, two Young Innovators & Young Social Entrepreneurs participants were highlighted for their work. Kortni Foreman (pictured to the left), Townview Magnet School Class of ‘2023, shared her STEM initiative entitled, “Kits by Kortni.” The project is designed to provide an inclusive STEM Curriculum about women of color.

Jeremiah Bledsoe

Jeremiah Bledsoe

Jeremiah Bledsoe (pictured to the right), Nolan Catholic High School Class of ‘2022, received the Youth Service America/Hershey Heartwarming Hero Award for his social enterprise, J8 Creative, supporting the elderly in senior healthcare facilities.

A virtual online exhibit website includes additional information from subject matter experts. Ed Gray of WFAA, MacKenzie Jenkins, founder of Justice She Wrote, Eva Csaky of the SMU Hunt Institute, and many more provide digital lessons in the exhibit. Visit the online exhibit at  www.virtualceys2.com. The Action Research Center’s Cutting Edge Youth Summit provides an opportunity for students, parents, and community leaders to execute leadership strategies, problem solving, and design to become agents of change.

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