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Graduate Testimonials

I was in the CT YOUTH Forum from 2002-2006. It was a life changing experience. I went to high school in Thomaston, which has very little diversity. Joining the YOUTH Forum gave me an opportunity to meet students of all different backgrounds--ethnic, religious, political, you name it. The YOUTH Forum also gave me the opportunity to attend CT Forum events. I got to go behind the scenes a few times. I went to the Red Sox vs. Yankees, Yankees vs. Red Sox Forum and met Carlton Fisk, which as a huge Red Sox fan was really exciting! I also went to a Forum where Kyle Maynard was a panelist. He was born without arms and legs, but has never let that stop him--he had just climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro! It was fun and rewarding to meet so many inspiring people, both fellow students and Forum panelists. It's been almost 6 years since I've graduated; I've had 3 different phones since then, but I still have The Forum's number in my contacts because I think of it as an important number to have. I am so thankful that I got to experience the loving, eye-opening, learning experience that is the CT YOUTH Forum.

Courtney Smith, YOUTH Forum Alumni, Thomaston High School, Class of 2006


Being a part of the CT YOUTH Forum taught me to be a critical thinker, and to approach every situation with an open mind. The experiences that I had during my four years of membership were invaluable in developing my confidence and individuality, and I attribute much of my growth to the YOUTH Forum.

Jenilee Terry, YOUTH Forum Alumni, Conard High School, Class of 2000

The CT YOUTH Forum is a home where everyone is allowed their voice, their thoughts, and a right to be heard. It was a house that truly greeted me with open arms. Growing up I was one of the isolated kids. I struggled so much through the years trying to fit in at my high school. Then I found the CT YOUTH Forum and I knew I was home. I could express any thought, any opinion, and have no fear of being judged based on that. I learned a lot about the real world because I grew up in a very sheltered household. The CT YOUTH Forum is what has paved the way for numerous successes in key things in my life both developmentally and experience wise. Without the CT YOUTH Forum I would not have become who I am today.

Kevin Yudkin, YOUTH Forum Alumni, Plainville High School, Class of 2008

I love The CT Forum. As a high school student, I was able to talk with peers about the pressures of life and what we saw in our schools. From this great organization, I made great friends and I was honored to meet very influential people. As a graduate of the YOUTH Forum, I am able to come back and mentor those who are now lucky enough to participate in the YOUTH Forum. I am forever grateful for everything that The Forum has given me and done for me. Even though I currently volunteer as an EMT and work for the City of Virginia Beach Department of Emergency Medical Services, I wish I still was in high school so I could still attend the meetings!

Taneta McCaw, YOUTH Forum Alumni, Southington High School, Class of 2002

During my YOUTH Forum experience I traveled all over Connecticut meeting other high school students, listening to them, talking to them, and learning about myself and my generation. I was also lucky enough to serve on The Connecticut Forum Board of Directors, and had the opportunity to meet many of the inspiring individuals who spoke at Forum theater events, as well. After high school I went to UCONN, not really knowing what I wanted to do. Because I had a very strong desire to help others and an understanding of the adversity facing others, acquired in part through my YOUTH Forum experience, I got a degree in political science/pre-law. I realized that I could challenge myself, provide for my future family, and dedicate my life to helping others as an attorney. I will finish law school at the University of Richmond in the spring of 2012. My experience with Connecticut YOUTH Forum motivated me to look for ways to improve myself, help others, and gave me the interpersonal and analytical skills to achieve my goals. Thank you to all of my friends at Connecticut Forum!!

Ryan Foreman, YOUTH Forum Alumni, Bolton High School, Class of 2004