YLP attends Athena Conference at Harvard

By Kalvin Nash and April Crespo, 2011-2012 YLP members

The Athena Conference took place on Sunday on the Harvard campus. The purpose of this conference was to explore the perspectives of Boston area youth surrounding gender and sexual health. The workshops exemplified the famous saying “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.” The theme of the conference was “Born This Way,” which is the title of a Lady Gaga song. The conference started off by emphasizing that, in Lady Gaga’s words, “God makes no mistakes” and that your love is the best love, metaphorically saying that if you love yourself you will be set for life.

For the Youth Leadership Program, the conference was an unforgettable, once in a lifetime opportunity. The conference offered an array of workshops. One workshop highlighted the ways in which fashion affects our everyday life. As April Crespo, a YLP participant and Junior at Snowden International High School said, “Now that everyone exhibits a new trend, we all hide in a shell that defines us, characterized by the clothes we wear.” In the “Future Workshop,” participants were asked to determine what future occupation they believed best fit their personalities. This workshop was a favorite of YLP participant and Boston Latin Academy sophomore Kalvin Nash, who is currently uncertain of his future occupation. The future workshop, Kalvin observed, helped every participant examine the good hidden in themselves.

If you aren’t already drawn by this compelling description, then the entertaining songs sung by the hellacious youth a cappella group would be enough to have you hooked. Don’t fret; it may have been eight hours of our time, but the many refreshments and activities kept us feeling rejuvenated and alert, and enabled us to absorb the excitement and mood brought on by the safe and liberating space. Are you wondering when the next Athena Conference will take place? Keep a keen eye on our blogs and join us at the conference next spring!

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