YES Fest 2024 Inspires Youth, Parents

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Approximately 150 Durham youth, along with parents, guardians, and community leaders, enjoyed an afternoon of motivation, information, and entertainment at YES Fest 2024 on Saturday, May 4, at the Holton Career and Resource Center.

Youth performances, achievement awards, motivational messages, $50 cash drawings and free food marked the occasion hosted by the Hayti Reborn - Justice Movement (HR-JM) and the Bull City Athletic Association (BCAA). The organizations teamed up to co-host the Bulldog’s 6th Annual Youth Summit and HR-JM’s second-ever youth engagement showcase known as YES Fest.

“Be fearless for fear is a dream killer,” proclaimed keynote speaker Jhazmere Preston who is also known as Mr. Healthy Mindz. “Move away from the spirit of comparison. You’ve got to love yourself, have integrity, focus on you and change your mindset.”

Originally from Camden, NJ, Preston isa Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor. Since his career started in 2002, has worked with children, adolescences, and adults with a wide array of presenting issues. Preston assists individuals in developing an acute awareness for how negative thoughts patterns can be challenging and teaches them how to create default thought patterns that are positive, automatic, and empowering.

Bull City Bulldogs Director Fred Evans identified several area youth to present awards for personal and community milestones achieved. Among youth award recipients were:

Walter Carter, youth mentor and letterman in football at Riverside High School.

Di'Zarria Brown, a student at Lodge Middle School in Wendell, Girl Scout leader and published author of Why It Is Cool to be Me.

Chase McDonald, who persevered to rebound from devastating injuries to both legs. He is a youth mentor with the Bull City Bulldogs as he rehabs to play football again.

Jordyn Alexander, youth business owner.

Amiri Moser, a brain injury survivor of a drunk driving accident who loves music and aspires to be a rapper.

Jayda Sims, former Hillside High drum major who is pursuing her passion in fashion design.

McClenton family siblings Reginald, Kendall and Bryson for exceptional dedication to the youth ministry of First Ledge Rock Missionary Baptist Church, and Kendall in particular for initiating a petition to secure free lunch for all kids in her school district.

An Exhibitors Showcase featured information tables hosted by representatives of youth serving organizations. Exhibitors included: Bull City Bulldogs Athletic Association & Cheerleaders/United Glee; Bull City Youth Build; Coach P Sports (Soccer); Durham Office on Youth; Durham Parks & Recreation; Elna Spaulding Conflict Resolution Center; Girls Rock North Carolina; GRACED, Inc.; Muhammad Boxing Academy; NC Works WIOA Next Generation Program; Pushing Peace; RHODA Generation; Sidekicks Academy, Inc.; StepUp Durham; and Walltown Theatre.