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Teens Engage In Tough Talk About Impacts Of Unemployment

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Teens were tied together in pairs with balloons attached as part of a team building exercise at Community Education Day.
Armando Trull
Teens were tied together in pairs with balloons attached as part of a team building exercise at Community Education Day.

Youth leaders from organizations in the D.C. metropolitan area teamed up for a Community Educational Day about health and wellness issues.

About 50 pairs of teenagers are attached to one another by a string inside the Thurgood Marshall Center in Northwest D.C. With two balloons tied around their right ankles, they stomp opponents' balloons and protect theirs as a team building exercise.

Later in the day, participants from D.C. and Maryland give their take on social issues affecting them and their families as part of a program they helped design.

One issue raised again and again was unemployment. It was discussed in skits, and the link between joblessness and crime through a video.

Tiana Minterel, 14, explains why she picked this topic for the workshop. "Because there are a lot of people that are unemployed and the crime rate in Southeast D.C. is kind of high," she says.

Levi Thompson spoke about his family’s struggles. "I was homeless because my mother, she lost her job," the 18-year-old says. "So we weren't able to pay the rent."

The teens' presentations also conveyed a message of hope.

"My advice for people would be, ask for help if you need it," Levi says. "Don't be scared."

The teen programs are supported by the Consumer Health Foundation which works to end health disparities in under-served communities.

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