This year 15 mentors from Garland ISD went with us to the STARS National Conference at the University of Denver in Denver, Colorado.

In the Large Group sessions, students were able to experience dynamic speakers such as Dr. Lori Salierno, who rode a bike from Washington to Georgia to raise funds and awareness for at-risk youth; Chaz Miles, rapper, songwriter, athlete; Bryan Sederwall, founder of many nonprofits dedicated to helping youth; and Rick & Barb Wise, a married couple who shared their story of living with HIV/AIDS.

There were also smaller groups called “Family Groups” where the mentors and mentees were able to open up and share intimately on topics that affect teens daily.

In an effort to allow the students time away from University of Denver’s campus, the students were divided into teams for an “Amazing Race” scavenger hunt through downtown Denver.

There were new games and activities introduced for the students to bring back to their local schools’ STARS Peer-to-Peer Mentoring programs.

Students also had the opportunity to attend workshops including Laughaceuticals; Twisted, Unraveled, Refined; Super Powers, Suicide, and Speaking life; Got Junk?  Making your Mark; City Under Ciege: iEmpathize; #COLLEGE; Q & A with Rick & Barb; and The Power of Emotions.

This was a truly life changing conference for these students.