Gateway Gift

Local musicians and the Youth Empowerment Program provided a night of entertainment and charity.

The Youth Empowerment Program is a youth group which was recently formed through Chautauqua Tapestry to give local youth the tools and training to be active and meaningful leaders within Chautauqua County.

As its first event ever, the group held a concert at the Community Helping Hands Gateway Family Center, with all proceeds to benefit Compeer Chautauqua and the Child Advocacy Program. The event was titled the Youth Rockin’ Resolutions Music Fest.

“We’ve been working on leadership training and how to get (the members’) names heard,” said Victoria Patti, youth engagement specialist with Chautauqua Tapestry.

“They really wanted to give back to the community and have a celebration to showcase what they can do for the community. There are so many organizations that give to the youth of the community, so the group wanted to give back to those organizations. This fundraiser is to establish the youth group, but to also raise money for the organizations in the community that help them and other youth.”

According to Patti, there are currently 15 members in the YEP and members range between the ages of 13 and 20.

With regard to the concert, it featured musicians Adam McKillip, People Are Loud Movers, DJ 8ON3 and Chris Bell. According to Patti, all the musicians volunteered their time for the cause, and the sound equipment was donated by Mike Town.

“I’m not very familiar with the music scene in Jamestown, Robert Hewitt, one of our members, helped to get the musicians together,” said Patti. “He took care of phone calls and emails, and helped to build the bridge between me and the musicians.”

Lexy Baglia, social marketer and technical assistance coordinator for Chautauqua Tapestry helped YEP promote and theme the event.

“I helped to facilitate the ideas and visions that the youth group had for this event,” said Baglia. “They’ve been wanting to put on something great for the community … and that turned into a concert. The kids have been really great at getting the posters all over town and making sure everyone knew about it.”

The theme, Youth Rockin’ Resolutions Music Fest, played into the idea that most people make resolutions for healthier lives for the new year. To aid in those resolutions, several wellness resources in the community were on display for those in attendance.

“These are a group of kids that are very passionate about being involved in making positive changes for youth in the community, and I’d love to see them succeed,” said Baglia.

Additionally, a prize was awarded to the youth group with the most members that attended the concert.

For more information on YEP, contact Chautauqua Tapestry at 753-4519.