The CT YOUTH Forum allowed me to simultaneously get my thoughts and ideas out into the world and take in more than I let out. I sincerely believe that the future would be a lot brighter if every state had a program just like the Connecticut YOUTH Forum.
Stefan Ankle, YOUTH Forum Alumni, H.C. Wilcox Technical High School,
Class of 2013
My favorite YOUTH Forum event was my first Student Exchange Event that I participated in my sophomore year. That was the first YOUTH Forum event I went to and it gave me a lasting impression that this is a really warm and welcoming environment where I can meet people who have similar interests and feelings as I do. I loved being a part of the YOUTH Forum. I enjoyed being able to meet cool people from across the state whom I would have never had the chance to meet otherwise. I enjoyed getting to work with students who have the same views of tolerance and acceptance as I do.
Sarah Wiszniak, YOUTH Forum Alumni, Plainville High School, Class of 2013
I love The CT Forum. As a high school student, I was able to talk with peers about the pressures of life and what we saw in our schools. From this great organization, I made great friends and I was honored to meet very influential people. As a graduate of the YOUTH Forum, I am able to come back and mentor those who are now lucky enough to participate in the YOUTH Forum. I am forever grateful for everything that The Forum has given me and done for me. Even though I currently volunteer as an EMT and work for the City of Virginia Beach Department of Emergency Medical Services, I wish I still was in high school so I could still attend the meetings!
Taneta McCaw, YOUTH Forum Alumni, Southington High School, Class of 2002
Being a part of the CT YOUTH Forum taught me to be a critical thinker, and to approach every situation with an open mind. The experiences that I had during my four years of membership were invaluable in developing my confidence and individuality, and I attribute much of my growth to the YOUTH Forum.
Jenilee Terry, YOUTH Forum Alumni, Conard High School, Class of 2000
YOUTH Forum really changed the way that I operated. I went from being a really shy and cautious person to being totally dedicated to a group of people that I didn’t really know. In YOUTH Forum, I could always be myself. No one cared what clothes I wore or my popularity status. They loved me for me, as soon as I walked in the door on day one. I met so many amazing people and had so many memorable conversations at the YOUTH Forum. It’s a unique community and I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to find another group like them again, but I can always come back to my YOUTH Forum family. The people and the freedom to be who we are is why I love the Connecticut YOUTH Forum.
Rebecky Abramson, YOUTH Forum Alumni, CREC Academy of Aerospace and Engineering,
Class of 2016
My favorite YOUTH Forum event was the monthly meeting called “Friend or Foe” because it was very relatable. Participating in the YOUTH Forum was inspirational and allowed me to relate to other youth across Connecticut. I loved it!
Jose Bermudez, YOUTH Forum Alumni, East Granby High School,
Class of 2013
I was in the CT YOUTH Forum from 2002-2006. It was a life changing experience. I went to high school in Thomaston, which has very little diversity. Joining the YOUTH Forum gave me an opportunity to meet students of all different backgrounds--ethnic, religious, political, you name it. The YOUTH Forum also gave me the opportunity to attend CT Forum events. I got to go behind the scenes a few times. I went to the Red Sox vs. Yankees, Yankees vs. Red Sox Forum and met Carlton Fisk, which as a huge Red Sox fan was really exciting! I also went to a Forum where Kyle Maynard was a panelist. He was born without arms and legs, but has never let that stop him--he had just climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro! It was fun and rewarding to meet so many inspiring people, both fellow students and Forum panelists. It's been almost 6 years since I've graduated; I've had 3 different phones since then, but I still have The Forum's number in my contacts because I think of it as an important number to have. I am so thankful that I got to experience the loving, eye-opening, learning experience that is the CT YOUTH Forum.
Courtney Smith, YOUTH Forum Alumni, Thomaston High School, Class of 2006
During my YOUTH Forum experience I traveled all over Connecticut meeting other high school students, listening to them, talking to them, and learning about myself and my generation. I was also lucky enough to serve on The Connecticut Forum Board of Directors, and had the opportunity to meet many of the inspiring individuals who spoke at Forum theater events, as well. After high school I went to UCONN, not really knowing what I wanted to do. Because I had a very strong desire to help others and an understanding of the adversity facing others, acquired in part through my YOUTH Forum experience, I got a degree in political science/pre-law. I realized that I could challenge myself, provide for my future family, and dedicate my life to helping others as an attorney. I will finish law school at the University of Richmond in the spring of 2012. My experience with Connecticut YOUTH Forum motivated me to look for ways to improve myself, help others, and gave me the interpersonal and analytical skills to achieve my goals. Thank you to all of my friends at Connecticut Forum!!
Ryan Foreman, YOUTH Forum Alumni, Bolton High School, Class of 2004