WEST PALM BEACH — Palm Beach County youth can make their voices heard and learn firsthand about the electoral process at the 10th annual Teen Awareness Fair this Saturday.
Organizers say the free “Face of Change” event will be informative to youth and parents, help this year’s “rookie voters” understand the political process and prepare future voters.
A mock election and a first-time teen mock debate between high school students from Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts, 501 S. Sapodilla Ave., West Palm Beach, and Palm Beach Central High, 8499 Forest Hill Blvd., Wellington, will be featured.
Event coordinator Valerie Jackson said the mock debate is expected to be a practical lesson for the youth, coming before the final presidential debate between incumbent Barack Obama and opponent Mitt Romney, slated for Monday at Lynn University in Boca Raton, and the general election on Nov. 6.
“We want the youth to be aware of the voting process so when they come of age they already have that seed planted that their voice matters,” Jackson said. “They can vote for candidates who are actually on the ballot. We want them to know they can make a difference.”
Event facilitator Bruce Lewis, owner of LB, Ltd. Public Relations,
said the teen fair was created to help build interest around the presidential debate, expected to be a boon for the local economy.
“Over 12,000 media (personnel) will be in Palm Beach County covering the debate, as well as visitors,” Lewis said. “They will need hotel rooms and they will need things to do.”
The local economical impact through spending on hotels, restaurants, car rentals and other services could range from $8 million to $10 million, Lewis added.
Positive Habitat Aspiring Teens (P.H.A.T.) is sponsoring the event. West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio said that will help them become productive.
“P.H.A.T. is a nonprofit youth development organization dedicated to helping teens reach their potential and inspiring them to be responsible adults,” she said.
Recording artists TALTON and Joey Beesly, as well as a fashion show by the Etiquette Touch Models will also be featured on the program. The XCL Dance Team, Chantal & Company Dance Troupe, the Roosevelt Middle School marching band and Kent Coleman and the Smiths will also perform.
Sponsors include Palm Beach Broadcasting, the Downtown Development Authority, the Black Chamber of Commerce and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Parents who are politically engaged can take this opportunity to exposed and educate their children about the process, Lewis said.
“When I became of legal age to vote, no one told me about the political process,” he said. “I had to ask around and try to figure things out myself.”
Lewis said young people who attend the fair will walk away with more information and be better prepared when they are able to vote.
“This is our effort to reach out to our youth and get them involved with something positive,” Jackson added.