The Keynote presentation will identify the significant impact gang violence has on the individual, the community and the school. Particular focus will be given to why school counselors and professionals should care about this wide-spread problem. Methods to openly discuss this issue within a school setting and action plans for school counselors as they address this issue single-handedly will be reviewed. The presentation will also address the common myths and realities of how gangs recruit, explore multi-ethnic factors, and share why kids may join a gang.
Sergio Arqueta is one of the most influential community activists on Long Island addressing the issue of youth and gang violence and other social injustices. He is the founder of the grassroots organization, S.T.R.O.N.G. Youth Inc., which is the leading gang prevention/intervention agency in our region. He has served as a college program administrator and is an adjunct instructor at three universities in both the Schools of Education and the Schools of Social Work. He is now a regional high school social worker responsible for attendance. Sergio’s powerful presentations give profound insight and first-hand accounts of gang violence and how communities and their youth can be empowered and educated to reduce violence.
Jill Porter has been a member of the Suffolk County Probation Department for the past twenty years. She began as a Probation Investigator working in the Cohalan Court Complex. It was during this period that she noticed a large number of gang members involved in the Court system. She was the main impetus in the development of gang training for the Probation Department staff, other outside law enforcement agencies, community organizations, and school staff. As the gang situation grew so did the development of a gang awareness program for youth. Jill was sworn in as a Probation Officer in 2001, and is the Probation Department Gang Intelligence Officer. She will discuss all the necessary elements in raising productive members of society, including parental involvement, education, and female empowerment.
SPECIAL PRESENTATION 10:50 AM - 12:00 noon
The Stigma of Adolescent Mental Health Issues
Hakeem Rahim, CEO & President, Live Breathe, LLC & I Am Acceptance, Inc.
Hakeem Rahim, Ed.M, M.A., had the honor of being the first African-American male valedictorian in Uniondale High School’s history. He graduated from Harvard University with a B.A. in psychology and from Teacher’s College, Columbia University with dual master’s degrees in psychological counseling. In 2012, Hakeem began openly sharing his journey with mental illness. Since then he has testified before both the House of Representatives and the Senate in Washington, D.C., been featured in USA Today and has shared his journey with over 60,000 college, high school and middle school students. Hakeem rose from struggling with illness in college to become a leading mental health advocate. Now as the CEO of Live Breathe, LLC and President of I Am Acceptance, Inc., he uses his journey to inspire others to lead their best lives.
Mental illness impacts one out of five teens and young adults. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for teenagers. Yet, there is still a lack of understanding and silence in the face of suffering. In this presentation, nationally and internationally recognized mental health speaker, educator and advocate, Hakeem Rahim will reflect on his journey through stigma and shame to advocacy and mental wellness. Since 2013, Hakeem has spoken at over 180 educational institutions reaching over 60,000 students, parents, counselors, teachers and administrators. Now, Hakeem’s goal is to partner with administrators, teachers and parents to educate, inspire and transform how school communities approach student mental health and emotional wellness. Using his personal narrative and advocacy work as a point of departure, Hakeem will explore stigma, recovery and lessons learned while working in school communities.