Speakers share message of resiliency, empowerment

GUELPH – Making smart choices, overcoming obstacles and dreaming big were among some of the themes at the Child Witness Centre’s 2024 Youth Symposium.

After being cancelled since 2019, the event returned to Guelph on April 16 with a slate of guest speakers meant to provide youth with inspiration, empowerment and confidence. 

More than 800 Grade 8 students and teachers from Guelph and Wellington County attended the Guelph symposium, held at the Galaxy Cinemas on Woodlawn Road.

They each had the opportunity to take in three different presentations from a roster of speakers that included Canadian Olympic boxer Mandy Bujold; magician Jordan Murciano, who performs at Mind Bender; former gang member Rick Osborne; and motivational speakers Andy Thibodeau, Chris Gray and Stu Saunders, among others.

Lessons were varied.

“Be careful online; believe in yourself; stay positive about life,” one student noted in answer to the question of what they had learned.

“Don’t let failures stop you from trying new things. Don’t base your decisions on others’ opinions,” another student said.

Objectives of the program include challenging students to make a positive difference in the world, providing youth with strategies to develop resiliency, and supporting their overall wellbeing.

Attendees also learned more about the Child Witness Centre’s work supporting child and youth victims of crime and abuse.