On Tuesday, the Killeen Code Enforcement Department got a chance to talk graffiti with the issue’s key interest group: area middle school and high school students ages 11 to 18.

“It may take 30 seconds to put the graffiti down but it takes hours to clean it up,” said Roxanne Winder, youth program specialist for the Youth Advisory Commission.

The graffiti session was just one of a series of workshops that comprised the 60s-themed Youth Advisory Commission Youth Conference at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center.

The conference is designed to teach young people about teamwork, drug prevention, safe driving habits and respecting other people’s property.

“We try to choose topics that are related to what the kids are dealing with now,” Winder said.

The event, aside from its code enforcement and public safety agenda, served as a recruitment tool for YAC, a youth-based volunteer group that participates in philanthropic events such as Make A Difference Day and Relay For Life.

“Volunteering is really just an amazing feeling,” said Ellison High School freshman Olivia James. “Just being with other people supporting each other makes it so much easier.”

Approximately 300 middle school and high school students participated in the conference, now in its 16th year.

The event was coordinated by the city of Killeen, Killeen Independent School District and Killeen Volunteers Inc.

Killeen Mayor Dan Corbin also addressed the auditorium, encouraging young people to garner the skills of reading, writing, public speaking, fitness, and drug- and alcohol-free lifestyles to become strong leaders in their community.

“We need to set an example for young people,” Corbin said after the event. “These people are the future leaders of our community and state and nation. It is important that we mentor them and YAC is a vehicle to do that.”

Contact Brandon Janes at bjanes@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7552

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