Quintaya Mathis, 15, relates to the struggles teenagers face on a daily basis.
“Confidence is a big issue,” said Mathis, who gave a testimonial on self-esteem Saturday during a youth town hall at Greater Vision Community Church in Killeen. “It’s something that needs to be talked about in the community.”
The church collaborated with parents, youth and community leaders to discuss the issues youth face in today’s society, such as low self-esteem, bullying, sexual/gender choices, alcohol and drugs.
With the nationwide issues of school shootings and bullying, Dawn Hodges, youth pastor at the church, wanted to actively work toward a solution.
“There was just a place in my spirit to do something and alert the community that this is a big concern,” Hodges said. “We are in this together.”
The most beneficial thing youth can receive is education, Hodges said. Once they know the dangers of their choices, they will be empowered to be better people.
“We want to empower them to know that they matter, that they’re special all by themselves,” he said. “They don’t need to be validated by gangs or drugs or sexual gender choices or anything else.”
During her testimonial, Mathis talked about gaining self respect from others by having respect for herself.
“Sometimes your self-esteem gets low, but you have to keep God next to you and by your side and know he’s always there to work out problems for you,” Mathis said. “When you feel like you’re down or your self-esteem is low because of bad experiences or memories, you have to just keep on focusing and keep the faith.”
Quinlaine Cisco attended to learn how to be a better mentor to her friends and hoped parents and teachers also gained useful advice.
“You just have to really be informed about what’s going on in your community,” she said. “People need to be more mindful and respectful of one another so we can learn how to come together.”