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Community Notebook: Palo Alto hosting teen forum on Feb. 6

Event will include teen dialogue circles, workshop for parents, student alumni panel

The Palo Alto Youth Council and City of Palo Alto are teaming up to host a second annual teen forum on Saturday, Feb. 6, to discuss topics from dealing with stress and tackling mental illness to helping friends in need.

The forum, called "Palo Alto Strong: A Teen Movement to Promote Resilience and Empathy," will take place at Mitchell Park Community Center, 3700 Middlefield Road in Palo Alto, 6-10 p.m. The event is being advertised as student-centered, but both young people and adults can attend.

During the event, teens will participate in a series of dialogue circles, led by teen-selected adult facilitators, about topics that teens have identified as important to them and critical to their well-being, according to a city press release. Topics will include dealing with stress, building strong relationships, tackling mental illness, helping a friend in need and daily life choices.

"The purpose of the dialogue circles is to encourage teens to have open and honest dialogue in a safe environment with trusted adult facilitators," the press release states. "Teens can share ideas on maintaining the social, mental, and physical well-being of Palo Alto youth, while contributing to the community's commitment to elevate the teen voice."

While the teen discussions are taking place, adults will be invited to participate in a workshop designed to provide support for parents, educators, advocates, and allies for teens in the community who have been affected by the issues teens face.

At the end of the event, all attendees will come together for "Empathy Hour," described in the press release as "an opportunity for continued conversations and relationship building." This part of the event will include a catered dinner, live music, art activities and raffle contests. The forum will end with a student alumni panel and closing remarks.

The schedule for the event is as follows: opening remarks, 6-6:30 p.m.; teen dialogue circles and adult workshop, 6:30-7:45 p.m.; Empathy Hour, 7:45-8:45 p.m.; student alumni panel, 8:45-9:45 p.m.; and closing remarks, 9:45-10 p.m.

Youth, parents, educators and teen advocates are encouraged to attend this event. All who attend will be entered into a raffle contest for gift cards and more. To RSVP, go to Facebook.com. For more information, contact officialPAYC@gmail.com.

Elena Kadvany

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