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Youth Summit

The 8th grade Youth Summit delivers the message that there will always be obstacles, in life, but none which cannot be overcome.  When you find your voice, you can use it to achieve your dreams. When you continue your education, you can strengthen your voice and make it more powerful.

The program consists of pre-recorded speakers and teaching notes. When this program originally aired there was a chat section, but there will be no chat function available in the recording.

This program is available until June 7, 2021.


The Power of Youth is a groundbreaking, interactive youth empowerment movement. It all begins by illustrating to students that their voice is their power, and that power can help them change their lives, their families, their communities, and our world. The program features three dynamic youth motivational speakers highlighting the importance of education and teaching notes for each speaker.


  • Understand their capacity to be change agents
  • Develop a positive self-worthIdentify positive and negative influences in their lives
  • Learn the importance of higher education
  • Set goals and develop a plan to meet those goals
  • Make a long-lasting, positive impact in their lives, their families and/or their communities

Program Agenda

  • To start the program, click
  • When the program opens there is a red tab with three dots on the right-hand side.  Click the tab to go to full screen.
  • Speakers: There are three dynamic, motivational speakers (bios included in teaching notes) and the event runs 1.5 hours.  The speakers are
    • Carlos Ojeda Jr.
    • Natasha Carrizosa
    • Juan Cangas
  • Teaching Notes: The teaching notes are designed for students to critically reflect on the speaker's talk. You can either pause the program after each speaker and ask the reflection questions or you can ask the reflection questions at the end.
  • And finally, each student will receive a copy of CoolSpeaks book – Dollars for Scholars – a helpful book about college and scholarships. For the pdf version please email me and I’ll be glad to send it to you to share with your students.

For questions or additional information about the 8th Grade Youth Summit, please contact Gary Marden at

8th Grade Virtual Youth Summit Teaching Notes

Carlos Ojeda Jr.

Carlos Ojeda Jr. has been called one of the most dynamic youth empowerment speakers in America today. A former university administrator, professor, and small business development center director, he now focuses his energy on empowering students to succeed by teaching them that their voice is their power. Combining his entrepreneurial spirit with his passion for changing the lives of youth across the country, he started CoolSpeak: The Youth Engagement Company.

Reflection Questions

  • What are labels (stereotypes) and how do they affect people’s lives?
  • Carlos says your voice is your power. How will you use your voice to make a difference?
  • What words or actions were directed at you because of assumptions or stereotypes and how did that experience make you feel?
  • What do you think we can do to help reduce bias, labels, and stereotyping?
  • Carlos was told that he would never go to college. Has anyone said that to you?
  • How did college change his life?

Natasha (Natty) Carrizosa:

In 2013, Natasha Carrizosa won the National Poetry Award for multi-cultural poet of the year. She is a poet, writer, and spoken word artist. Her work is deeply rooted in her childhood and life experiences. Raised as the daughter of an African-American mother and Mexican father, her writing reflects the dichotomy of these two rich cultures. Natasha is able to speak about the appreciation and beauty of our diversity that lives within us all.

Reflection Questions

  • Natasha shares her struggles with mental health. What was your biggest mental health struggle this year and what steps did you take to cope with your mental health?
  • How do you think education (going to college) will help you increase your ability to appreciate poetry? Music? Art? Or get your dream job?
  • Natasha says you have some jewels. What are your jewels?
  • Please complete the following prompts and then share them with us.
    • I am…, I see…, I hear…, I know…, I love…, I dream….

Juan Cangas

Juan Cangas has spent most of his life pursuing one question, “Why do some people succeed in life while others fail?” Juan had to find his own motivation to succeed as a young Latino teen wrestling with the challenges of life. His drive to overcome barriers and desire to make his mother proud helped him become the first person in his family to attend college. Juan is an authority in youth leadership development, with over 6 years of experience inspiring students from all walks of life.

Reflection Questions

  • Juan talks about his friends and relationships. What characteristics do you look for in a friend?  
  • Juan talks about defining moments. What is a defining moment?
  • How do you think self-esteem is related to friendships?
  • How can going to college help you to make better decisions?
  • What are your goals and vision for your future? And what is your plan to get there?
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