MIAMI GARDENS (CBSMiami) — Bullying, social media, negative music, and weapons of mass destruction…
It sounds intense but this is what 500 Miami Gardens high schoolers gathered to talk about Friday at the annual Zo’s Youth Summit Groove, hosted by Miami Heat legend Alonzo Mourning.
Many kids walked away with a different perspective.
“They wanna rap about what they think is cool now, and that’s how they’re making their money,” said one student. “But they’re going away from what’s really going on and taking away the light from real life situations.”
Rap lyrics were a hot topic for the day as teens from all over Miami-Dade County attended the event talking about relevant issues they face daily.
“They’re talking about lyric addiction,” said student Caramie Patterson. “Basically how they have these types of songs that’re playing on the radio that aren’t giving a good message to young people.”
It’s been more than a 15-year push by the retired NBA Hall of Famer to bring a positive change to underserved teens.
“You could easily, at the end of the day, put a mic in one of these kids’ faces and talk to them about what they’ve gotten out of the day,” said Mourning. “That’s the most important thing. The information they can take to better their lives.”
And it’s topics that the teens themselves truly want to talk about.
“We ask them the questions, they tell us what they truthfully want to hear,” said President of the Mourning Family Foundation, Bill Diggs. “And then we sit down with sociologists and psychologists and try to make sure that we develop these panels based on what we think they wanna hear. And also how we want to move them to the next level of their own education.”
It’s that honest communication between the teens and adults that clearly seems to make the most impact.
“We can see from an adult’s perspective on how this is effecting us,” Patterson said. “So instead of just from our point of view, like, we’re sometimes small-minded, we can see it from a bigger picture.”