Youth Empowerment Program host Civic Engagement Institute for Youth

Regional High School students present ideas for change to Civic and Business Leaders

Youth Empowerment Program (YEP), formerly Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Louisiana, will host a two-day Civic Engagement Institute for Youth Tuesday, April 2 from 4 to 7 p.m. and Wednesday, April 3 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Monroe Civic Center in the Fort Miro Room.

The Civic Engagement Institute for Youth is designed to engage students in the democratic process and teach best practices of civic engagement. Area high school sophomores and juniors are organized into teams to research topics of local and national concern. Each team will use the information collected to create a proposal for change, which will be presented to local community and business leaders.

Participants will experience a hands-on, highly interactive workshop with peers from schools in Ouachita Parish. Civic Engagement Institute focuses on teaching students how to create positive change on a local, state and national scale. YEP Director Jacquiela McFarland said, “It’s common for young people to be active in promoting social change. Our goal is to mobilize students by providing them with an idea of how important citizens are in that role and tools to help make their voices heard. Through Civic Engagement Institute, students learn how to identify issues and how to design innovative solutions to problems facing their communities. It is a remarkable opportunity for both the youth and the community.”

Rod Washington, Public Relations/Media Coordinator for the City of Monroe will present a keynote speech Tuesday, April 2 at 5 p.m. On Wednesday, April 3 from 3 to 4:30 p.m., students will present their presentations to community leaders who will question the students about their recommendations on the social issue or policy chosen by their team.

About YEP

YEP, an Initiative of The Wellspring, and a United Way-funded agency located at 620 Riverside Drive in Monroe, La. YEP is a youth empowerment and development program serving hundreds of children across Northeast Louisiana. For more information about YEP, please visit