More than 100 adolescents between the ages of 16 and 20, who have a foster care history, will learn about and develop leadership skills at the 22nd Annual Tomorrow’s Leaders Today Youth Conference at the University of Minnesota-Duluth on July 26-28.
“This conference brings out the best in youth,” said Minnesota Human Services Commissioner Emily Piper. “After three days, they have a sense of purpose, knowing that they can change themselves and help improve the foster care system.”
Youth who have attended the conference previously have described it as a “fun, positive, friendly and respectful” environment. They have also said that the conference “shows how much people believe in us” and “is encouraging and inspiring.”
The purpose of Tomorrow’s Leaders Today is to honor and enhance the leadership capacity of youth, teach leadership skills and strengthen the network of adults who value youth leadership.
This year’s conference will feature a welcome video from United States Senator Al Franken; a keynote address from Jamole Callahan, a trainer and motivational speaker; a comedy performance by the Renegade Theater Company; and a musical performance by Corey Medina, a Native American blues artist. The conference will also include large group activities, individual workshops and storytelling; youth will lead many of these activities.
After attending previous Tomorrow’s Leaders Today conferences, youth have gone on to:
- Testify for transitional housing for homeless people before a committee at the Minnesota Legislature
- Run a support group for younger children in foster care
- Speak to county commissioners and Minnesota Department of Human Services staff about how they can improve the child protection system and training for foster parents.
The youth conference also has a staff track to inspire and energize those who work with youth to recognize youth’s talents, abilities and knowledge.
The Tomorrow’s Leaders Today Planning Committee consists of Minnesota Department of Human Services employees, county representatives, non-profit organization representatives, and former youth conference participants. Minnesota Youth Leadership Council members are also involved with the conference. The department is the primary funder of the Tomorrow’s Leaders Today conference.