BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - During Saturday's second annual Gulf Coast Youth Leadership Symposium, 200 teens learned how to embrace their leadership skills.
During interactive workshops and panel discussions, local leaders imparted nuggets of knowledge into the young men and women. Pink Lotus Project founder Jocelyn Lane says the symposium is part of her mission to mentor youth.
"In my hometown, I grew up with wonderful family support. But outside of that, there were not a lot of mentors. So to be able to give that....in our communities is a wonderful asset," Lane said.
For those participating, the opportunity to soak in knowledge from local leaders is priceless.
"It was a lot of fun and very inspirational. I remember listening to everyone in the beginning, and I got a little nervous," said attendee Amethyst Ray. "It was really amazing, I loved it. It was just probably one of the funniest experiences I've had."
Although the Pink Lotus organization focuses on empowering young women, the symposium is open to both boys and girls.
"It's important, we must empower our youth, and I believe we need to start early. They came in here, 200 youth and teens who want to come out on a rainy day. I'm excited about this," said Mississippi gulf Coast Connection volunteer, Cathy Mason.
The event - which saw a record number of students - is sponsored by various Coast organizations, including Mississippi Power, The East Biloxi Community Collaborative, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.