From the INLAND VALLEY DAILY BULLETIN

It was a chilly night on Dec. 13, but warmth was created and spread when youth and adult leaders of the Pomona community came together for the Second Annual Pomona Youth Leadership Network Dinner. This event was planned and organized by the youth members of the Pomona Youth Advisory Committee.

The diversity was visible at every table. Young, up-and-coming leaders came from various high schools and local eolleges, each representing different leadership groups that exist in Pomona.

During the dinner, three questions were asked, and essentially this engaged the young leaders and adult mentors of Pomona in critical conversations. With each question asked, youths demonstrated their awareness and critical thinking to the adult mentors. At the same time, many adult mentors learned new perspectives and opinions from the youths.

Many youths, specifically those who are not used to public speaking, went up to the podium to read poems and essays. I tend to be more dedicated to writing than speaking to the public, but that chilly night I stepped up and read an essay I had written for the "100 Best Cities for Youth to Live in" grant.

The Pomona Youth Advisory Committee would like to thank all the adult mentors, especially Pomona Mayor Norma Torres, Pomona Unified School District Superintendent Thelma Melendez de Santa Ana and Assistant Superintendent Richard Martinez, who attended and served as exemplary role models for us, the youth. A special thanks to state Sen. Gloria Negrete-McLeod for presenting the youth with a state award for community service.

I would like to thank Westem University President Dr. Philip Pumerantz for his attendance and giving the youth at my table wise words that ‘will help us throughout our lifetimes.

The Pomona Youth Advisory Committee would like to encourage adults to become mentors for the youth in the community. Remember, we must be the change we want to see, and together we can do it. Let us rise and form exemplary role models for those to come, and let us create a path that they can follow.

MICHELLE BERNARDINO

Pomona Youth Advisory Committee