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Bergeson presides over Kids Speak 2007

Fifteen South Dakota high school students, including Philip's Bailey Bergeson, met in Oacoma, South Dakota, on Sunday, October 15, as the Youth Advisory Council (YAC). This council helps the Voices for Children identify problems concerning today's younger generation.

The council met to discuss and organize the Kids Speak 2007.

Each member of the YAC had earlier convened a listening session within their community. The members then came together to pool their information to decide what topic was most prominent and how the individuals and the YAC could be most beneficial. After much discussion and debate, is was agreed that racism was a definite issue that needs to be addressed. For Kids Speak 2007 the topic will be Respect and Accept Diversity.

Bergeson is the president of the YAC. "I feel racism is not very prominent in our community of Philip, but other towns are having trouble with it. Maybe by spotlighting the problem we can help resolve the issue and prevent it from becoming a problem in our area," said Bergeson.

Kids Speak, held in Sioux Falls once a year, offers a forum for young people to propose solutions for issues of concern to them and their peers. Kids Speak is a unique opportunity for students to speak directly to influential adults. Seven students from across the state will be selected to make ten-minute presentations to a panel of distinguished public officials and community leaders.

Last year Kids Speak 2006 topic was alcohol and other drugs - prevention, intervention, and recovery - after South Dakota was ranked number one in teen deaths related to drinking and driving.

South Dakota Voices for Children is the only statewide organization with the sole purpose of improving the lives of all South Dakota children through program and policy advocacy.