Information for Life

TODAY: Youth Encounter unites young people, adults with life-improving information



Two days before their children go back to school, the parents of Laurens County’s next generation can arm the kids - and themselves - with information that can save and improve their lives.

Valuable information about human trafficking, motivation and mentoring, and finances will be available this Saturday at Sanders Middle School in Laurens. Youth Encounter Organizer Treca Deshields was at Sanders on Friday for a walk-through - it was one of the registration days for the bustling learning community.

“My Hope for this event is for people to come and get this valuable information, said Deshields, who in 2020 will observe her 30th year of social services and youth development work in Clinton and throughout Upstate South Carolina.

She says “my kids” are coming back now to help educate a whole new generation.

A young woman whom Deshields mentored, Kendra Robinson, Esq. will be the featured speaker for the Aug. 17 Youth Encounter.

Robinson appears on “Love and Hip Hop Atlanta,” and is a Clinton High School graduate. Deshields also will have a talk for the event’s audience - it’s titled “My Dream A Reality.”

Youth speakers will be William Stokes, Monique Law, Jacqueline Rhinehart, Lucila Beaton (LISW-CP), Marcy Hill, Stephanie Yeilder and Trenton Dendy.

Also on the agenda - David Rojas, Pauline Brown, Minister Joseph Gary, Kim Suber, Shenique “KeeKee” Young, Evangelist Loretta Simpson and Kallison Graham

As the youth people receive their information, adult sessions also will be conducted. The guest speaker topics include Education, Health, Finances, Self-Esteem, and Human Trafficking.

As a social services specialist, Deshields said she has seen “horror stories” related to human trafficking in Upstate South Carolina, and the I-85 Corridor.

“We are educated on what to look for,” she said. “They come into the emergency room, and you can just tell.”

Young women are lured with the promises of legitimate work and fancy clothes - “Once they have you,” Deshields said, “they have you.”

Social media gives the kidnappers all they need to groom targets, DeShields said. “Parents, know who your children are talking to on-line,” she stressed.  

Breakfast and lunch will be served during this 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. event at Sanders (609 Green St., Laurens). On-line registration is urged, but not required.

EVENTBRITE: Register at Eventbrite “The Zone Youth Encounter 2019” as a youth, adult or vendor. More info, contact Deshields: 864-933-6343.

Deshields says she researched Eventbrite on her own, but admits that many modern marketing activities for her organization come from young people. “I have a super staff in Greenville,” she said. “They are always giving me ideas.”

Deshields has youth assistance groups working in Greenville and Anderson, and recently acquired a van for mobile assistance with clothing and food where needed. She came to Landau Apartments in Clinton - where her ministry began - as the first stop for the mobile assistance van. Her goal is to one day have a motor-home.

“I don’t want to lose my touch with Clinton,” Deshields said. “We have big plans for 2020 in Laurens County. I want to show young people, you can be from a small town and make it. And, I tell ‘my kids’ if you took from a community, you have a responsibility to give back.”

With Eventbrite, event organizers can print a roster of people who have registered, and set up a phone app to check off registrants as they come to the conference. That way, they can send “thanks for coming” notes to the people who attended, and “sorry we missed you” notes to the people unable to attend - a valuable marketing tool for any organization. Deshields said they will experiment with a phone app that allows a speaker to receive real-time feedback from the audience during a talk.

“I know I am God’s special child,” Deshields said. “He keeps me in the know.”

Still, even with technology, Deshields knows it’s human connections that matter. She says, “If you aren’t comfortable going on-line, just come anyway. We will get you signed up - we will use pen and paper.”


(Partners for Youth Encounter 2019 are Healthy Blue, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Clemson University’s College Preparation and Outreach.)




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