About 65 middle school students and some parents attended a conference at Manor Middle School on Saturday to learn about preventing sexually transmitted diseases and teen pregnancy.

The Project Alpha 2013 Teen Awareness and Relationship Responsibility Conference was sponsored by Kappa Sigma Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha. Event coordinator Floyd Birt said the fraternity’s main function is giving back to the community.

This was the seventh conference the fraternity has held for youths.

“We began holding events like this for boys but because parents began asking that this information be provided for girls, we added the next level,” Birt said. “It’s continued to grow and now we’ve added a component for parents.”

The conference also gave students lessons in responsibility.

Nina McCobb, Bell County Public Health District outreach educational nurse, distributed eggs to attendees at the start of the conference. The students were told to carry the eggs with them the rest of the day and make sure they remained unbroken.

“The whole idea with the egg was about responsibility,” McCobb said. “It was a simple task but will produce such a wide range of thought and ideas.”

Keynote speaker Rodney L. Duckett of Temple, who runs an organization known as Building, Empowering, Appreciating and Cultivating our Neighborhood, gave a speech on motivation and asked the students if they had direction in life.

“The questions you have to answer in life are these: Who am I and where am I going?” Duckett said. “People who care about you are available to step in to help you answer those questions.”

University of Mary Hardin-Baylor nursing students Dulce Vargas, Ana Barefield and Ana Hernandez and Dr. Roderick Hunter, of Ledger Foot and Ankle Clinic in Harker Heights, led gender-specific training sessions on STDs.

“Among middle school students in Texas, one out of every four has an STD,” Hunter said.

Bernice Craig of Killeen attended the conference with her two sons.

“There’s always room to grow and this opportunity will be a positive influence on them,” she said.

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