Event is free, but registration required.
Sloane Lewis has organized what she is calling the Miss Kansas Summit, drawing on an impressive array of talent and available to students in eighth through twelfth grades free of charge.
The event will be held May 11 and 12 at Champion Church in Wichita. Students may register at kansasyouth.eventbrite.com.
The summit is not a requirement of the title, nor even a recommendation, but something she feels compelled to do. In part, the motivation comes from her cousin, Mikey Lewis, who led a short troubled life before committing suicide late in 2012.
A part of her job as Miss Kansas is speaking to students in school settings.
"I wished I could reach more kids," she said, thinking, "maybe when I'm older, when I have money."
After returning from the Miss America Pageant in January, she decided to make something happen now. She began making phone calls, connected with the pastor at Champion Church, who helped put her in touch with speakers and began lining up sponsors for the event.
The event begins at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 11, with messages from Kansas University basketball players Jamari Traylor and Wichita native Perry Ellis. Traylor has a story that should encourage anyone who thinks life has dealt them a losing hand. Kicked out of the house at 15, he found shelter in a rusted-out Buick left in an abandoned car wash. That he has turned his life around points up the importance of having a positive mentor.
The all-day conference on Saturday aims to teach kids about making positive choices and staying drug and alcohol free, Lewis said. Lunch will be provided, as well as snacks on Friday evening.
Motivational speaker Bill Cordes, the "YOGOWYPI guy," will speak, promising, according to his website, a fun, energetic and humor-filled message about making positive choices.
In workshops, students will hear real-life stories from others who have experienced negative situations and were able to overcome them.
The husband-wife team of David and Lynn Gilkey have put a past that included drug use and jail sentences behind them and have worked for about 10 years with the Urban League of Kansas on programs to help young men and women achieve their potential.
A teen mom will talk about her struggles raising a child while in high school.
Former Kansas City Chiefs football player J.D. Franklin will share his personal story and the effects that drugs and alcohol have on the future.
Lewis will talk about the importance of goal setting and defining your own success.
She describes herself as a goal-oriented person, but believes many at-risk young people are so stuck in getting through what is happening right now that they don't have a concept of the future.
She hopes the summit, and a non-profit organization, Define Your Future, that she is working to establish will help them find motivation and resources.
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