ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Teens in the Greater Rochester area spent their day engaging in some brave conversations about how they can “Build a Better Rochester” — including Youth United.

The Levine Center Youth Ambassador Council joined the Roc the Future Alliance and Youth Voice One Vision to present Youth United summit held at Nazareth College.

“Primarily it’s about youth collaborating and youth experiencing leadership by other youth,” Roc the Future Alliance Family and Community Engagement Specialist Kilolo Moyo-White said.

The event included hands-on activities, keynote speakers and panel discussions which focused on why teens should be the lead in conversations about issues facing their communities.

“If they’re not a part of that conversation and if we’re not centering their voices in the decision making that’s happening around them, then we’re never going to solve those problems,” Moyo-White said.

Youth Engagement Coordinator Thomas Cuyler Jr. says it’s time we listen to those who are directly impacted.

“We live in a very adults world where we as adults feel like we have all the power, knowledge, information, and etcetera and the young people should just follow and listen to what we have to say,” Cuyler Jr. said. “It’s the young people’s experience, their knowledge and their expertise that will create and opportunity for us to grow and change as a community for the better.”

Javier Benzan attended to work with the Youth Ambassador Council and gives advice to youth on making a change and says it really comes down to putting yourself out there.

“If you’re willing to learn from the past and set aside your fears of failure or whatever else you could have just by making connections and doing whatever you can, you’ll be effective in no matter what you do really,” Benzan said.