ASPIRA of Florida Main Office

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Miami, FL 33126

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News Flash



ASPIRA of Florida



Annual "Young Muchachos and Muchachas Conference"

MuchachosConf-2013 hands-WebHLIt was the first day of Spring Break and the young students in attendance decided to forgo the usual vacation activities for a unique educational experience.

ASPIRA's annual "Young Muchachos and Muchachas Conference", held at Broward College's South Campus on Friday, March 22, featured a variety of guest speakers who shared their experience and insight regarding the social, economic, and cultural issues youth face today.

The overall purpose of the event was to provide students with the knowledge necessary to emerge as the leaders of tomorrow with the belief that given the right tools and opportunities, anyone can learn to recognize and utilize their own potential.

More than 100 students representing middle and high schools throughout Miami-Dade and Broward Counties attendMuchachosConf-2013 writinged the all-day event.

The students were divided into gender specific groups and received personalized attention as they discussed the effects of bullying, finance management, substance abuse prevention, HIV/AIDS awareness, self-esteem and its relation to the dangers of human trafficking, college preparedness and acceptance of cultural diversity.

Among the distinguished guests and represented community organizations were Dr. Jose Macias, Assistant Dean of English Department, Broward College, Eduardo Santiago, Senior Accountant, Carnival Cruise Lines, Lieutenant Rafael Lopez, Broward Sheriff's Office, Maria Clara Rodriguez, Kristi House, Mary Rivera-Jean, Program Specialist, DFYIT, Karen Creary and Samantha Kuryla, Children's Diagnostic and Treatment Center, and April Bell, Director of Online College Planning, College Board.

One of the most impactful moments came when Karen Creary and Samantha Kuryla spoke to the teenage girls about the realities of HIV and AIDS. The lecture was blunt, riveting and very real. Together they dispelled the misconceptions concerning the disease and educated the girls about how it can be contracted and spread. Kuryla put a face to the disease, her own, and emphasized the message that just one decision can alter your life forever. Having contracted the disease from her former husband 14 year ago, she shattered stereotypes and reached the students with an unforgettable, eye-opening message.

The speakers were given 45 minute time periods to address each group of students and share their message. Although the topics varied, the theme was the same: how to prepare for the future and avoid the obstacles that stand in the way of success.

"What do you love most about your job? What do I need to study to pursue a career like yours? What is the best piece of advice you can give us?"

MuchachosConf-2013 panelThe day closed with a leadership career carousel featuring a 'question and answer' session which allowed the guest speaker panel to answer questions like these from the students.

Having had the opportunity to truly experience the meaning of leadership through education, the students left the conference equipped with the most powerful tool of all, knowledge.

To view full picture gallery, click here.