SAVE Youth Summit sees thousands of students from across the U.S. collaborate to curb youth violence

The meeting at West Charlotte High School aimed to connect teens and share ideas.

Teens from across the country took part in a youth summit at West Charlotte High School on Saturday. The idea was to connect with peers and take action to curb youth violence.

Tons of students filled the halls wearing matching shirts, with a matching pledge from SAVE: Students Against Violence Everywhere. Kylie Rich, a high school senior from Wisconsin and a member of the Sandy Hook Promise National Youth Advisory Board, shared more about what she and her peers set out to do. 

“The goal of this summit is influencing other youth to be like, ‘Oh, wow, like, we can do this together,’” she said.

The idea dates back to over 30 years ago and started at West Charlotte High School after a student named Alex Orange was killed by gun violence in 1989. Gary Weart is a teacher at the school who once taught Orang. He hopes the program continues to reach countless teens. 

“I hope they understand that this gives them a voice, that this is proactive, not reactive, and that they can be leaders,” he said. 

The SAVE program has joined Sandy Hook Promise in echoing the same message in efforts to save lives. The message rings true for students and parents like Nicole Hockley; she lost one of her sons in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

“If we stay connected, if we look out for each other and if we give you a voice, I know it makes a difference. The evidence shows it, so it’s incredibly personal and important to me,” she said. 

Sandy Hook Promise has grown to more than 4,000 clubs in nearly every state across the U.S., building on the goal to save every young future possible. 

“It’s definitely a long-lasting impact,” said Rich, “and I hope it does the same for other youth as well.” 

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