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Laura Bush reading a book with a father and his child.

On October 27, First Lady Laura Bush, pictured here with a child and his father at J.S. Chick Elementary School in Kansas City, Mo., will host the first White House Conference on Helping America's Youth. The event will be broadcast at the McNamara Alumni Center on the Twin Cities campus.

University of Minnesota professor to kick off White House conference on youth

Published on October 25, 2005

A University of Minnesota pediatrics professor will kick off a nationwide White House Conference on Helping America's Youth from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, October 27. The videoconference can be viewed in the Gold Room at the McNamara Alumni Center on the Twin Cities campus in Minneapolis or online at the Children, Youth, and Family Consortium.

The purpose of the conference, which will be hosted by First Lady Laura Bush and broadcast from Howard University in Washington, D.C., is to promote public awareness about problems facing at-risk youth in the United States. It is designed to bring together policymakers, researchers, foundation representatives, coaches, parents, educators, and people from faith-based and volunteer organizations to share examples of what is already working to make a difference in the lives of young Americans.

U professor Michael Resnick will help lead off the conference in a session at 9 a.m. that examines challenges facing all youth. During his presentation, Resnick, who is director of the University's Healthy Youth Development Prevention Research Center, Department of Pediatrics, will assess the threats to healthy youth development as well as highlight what has been learned about key protective factors in the lives of youth.

The goals and topics of the White House conference align closely with those of University of Minnesota President Robert Bruininks' Initiative on Children, Youth and Families. Bruininks launched the initiative in 2003 in an effort to bring University expertise and research to bear on issues facing Minnesota's children, youth, and families.

"Through our annual Children's Summits, the University has brought together stakeholders from throughout the state to focus on youth issues," says Bruininks. "I'm pleased that the U of M can be part of this nationwide effort to focus public awareness on youth issues."

Other conference sessions will focus on what programs work and how to make positive connections with family, school and communities.

At 10:20 a.m., the conference will highlight a new guide called the "Community Guide to Helping America's Youth: An Assessment Tool for Youth Outreach." The guide is designed to help communities identify the challenges they face and give them specific steps to improve the lives of boys and girls in their communities.

For more information about the initiative or conference, see Helping America's Youth.

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