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Dream Summit aims to instill values in youth

Photo by J.D. Sumner

Photo by J.D. Sumner

ALBANY, Ga. -- Ward 3 Commissioner Christopher Pike said he hopes the first Dream Summit conducted Monday will impart to middle school students the values taught by Martin Luther King Jr., and that it will influence the schoolchildren to make the right choices in life.

The event played host to nearly 40 middle-school children and featured breakout sessions on inspiration and encouragement, financial and personal responsibility and other topics.

Also featured at the event were Dougherty County Schools Superintendent Joshua Murfree and panelists LaKisha Bryant of Girls Inc., Karen Kemp of the Lilypad, Dougherty County District Attorney Greg Edwards and Dougherty Sheriff Kevin Sproul.

The Dream Summit was one of several events Monday in Albany that had a connection to the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whose birthday Saturday was officially celebrated as a federal and state holiday Monday.

Pike said that using King's spirit of community service, he and his fellow organizers hoped to instill values that would help the children have a better chance at making better decisions that will impact their future.

"Today, we're gathered to honor (King) for the work that he's done and to just kind of pass on that information to a younger audience," Pike said. "... what we're trying to do here is instill that same sense into our younger citizens and that's why we think its so important to invest time to get them to understand the importance of volunteering, the importance of doing things on your day off. ... It has an impact on other people's lives in the community."

Pike and the other organizers of the event recruited community speakers skilled in various areas to speak to the students during work sessions Monday morning.

One of those speakers, Reginald Sweet, a spoken-word poet and media production specialist, imparted the importance of knowledge and quality learning to his groups during the event.

Equating their minds with a flash drive, Sweet told the students that learning involves more than just doing book work. It requires a few additional steps, he said, while also cautioning the children about corrupting their "drives" by absorbing negative and virulent information.

"Every time you read, you put something on your flash drive. When you read, you learn, and when you learn, you grow," Sweet said. "You learn, you read and you grow."

Pike said he hopes the event will catch on and will be bigger next year.