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Mayor Mims hosts teen youth summit, talks mental health, civic engagement

Dayton area high school students gathering for Mayor Mims' summit.
Garrett Reese
Dayton area high school students gathering for Mayor Mims' summit.

Dayton Mayor Jeffery Mims Jr. hosted a youth summit in Dayton on Wednesday. High school students from the area gathered to discuss youth mental health, purpose and passion, civic engagement, and mentorship.

As a former teacher and coach, Mims said he is dedicated to the youth of Dayton.

“Young people represent 20% of our population, but they are 100% of our future,” he said.

It is this belief that spurred Mims to hold the summit. The theme of the event was telling the kids “you matter,” that they are not alone in some of their hardships, and that people were there to help.

Dr. Stacy Worley is director of Dayton Public Schools Cultural Engagement and Inclusion. He’s also a former student of Mims’.

“Representing our young people and giving them a place and a platform to understand that they do really matter allows them to grow mentally, spiritually, physically, and find commonality among their peers,” he said.

By telling and showing the kids they matter, Mims hoped that they would take what they had learned and give back to Dayton.

“My goal is to create the kind of conditions in this city so that young people have some of the same kind of opportunities and experiences that my kids had,” he said.

The students in attendance are from schools from all over the region. Some were selected by their teachers or principals to attend the summit. Some, however, asked to attend.

Originally, Mims and other organizers expected between 140 and 180 students. But those who were selected began to talk, and other students became interested. Mims said on Tuesday, he began receiving texts and phone calls from students, teachers, and principals asking if more students could attend. He said that they could.

The surge in students made the morning check-in last longer than was expected, but having more students than expected was a good problem to have, Mims said.

The summit was held in the Sinclair Conference Center from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Garrett is a WYSO intern and graduate of University of Dayton. He spent time covering the Dayton area with WDTN Channel 2 News after the 2019 Memorial Day Tornado outbreak. It was around this time that he began listening to NPR and fell in love with radio-based journalism. Garrett graduated from UD in May of 2021 with his Bachelor’s in Communications with a focus in journalism and graduated in May of 2022 with his Master’s. While not working at WYSO, Garrett is an avid reader, loves to play video games, and hanging out with his friends.