Young Volunteers Lead Summit Team

Posted: March 15, 1997

The star-power Presidents' Summit for America's Future, to convene in Philadelphia next month, requires every city's delegation to include two young people for a conference that is, after all, focused on children and youth at risk.

So, Philadelphia, meet your youth delegates:

Jahi Davis, 20, is a 1995 graduate of Dobbins Technical High School who works as an AmeriCorps intern. He's involved in mentoring, tutoring and after-school programs at Nebinger Elementary School in South Philadelphia.

Davis, who lives in North Philadelphia, plans to enroll at Temple University when his two-year AmeriCorps stint is up.

Christine Nangle, 17, is metropolitan president of the Community Service Corps, sponsored by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. CSC oversees service work by 8,000 students at 37 Archdiocesan and private Catholic high schools.

Nangle is a junior at Little Flower High School, where she's No. 1 in the class and a National Merit finalist.

The rest of the city's 12-member delegation, a mix of civic heavy hitters and veteran community activists, was also introduced at a City Hall news conference yesterday. It's a diverse lot: five blacks, four whites, two Hispanics and an Asian-American, plus a six-six gender split.

Delegates include a teachers' union president, the city human services commissioner, a black clergy leader, a Girl Scout official, a schools cluster leader, a university official and head of the Urban League, among others.

``We literally could have put hundreds of people on the delegation, there was so much interest,'' said Rendell, who will be the delegation's leader and 13th delegate.

President Clinton and predecessors George Bush and Gerald Ford will appear at the April 27-29 summit, which will seek three-year commitments from corporations, government, community service agencies and volunteer groups to address issues of children and youth at risk.

Former President Carter, who Rendell called the recent president most dramatically associated with community service and volunteering, is hosting a half dozen heads of state in Georgia on April 28, but Rendell hopes he'll visit April 27 to take part in a mammoth cleanup along Germantown Avenue for delegates and community volunteers.

The mayor said he expects up to 5,000 volunteers for the cleanup, from Lehigh Avenue to the top of Chestnut Hill, which he termed the summit's ``most important event.''

Both youth delegates vowed to bring the younger generation's perpective to the summit, and to start rescuing their peers' reputation.

``We will bring a different perspective, from the youth. Teenagers really do want to participate. Youth have been put in a really bad light lately,'' said Nangle, who has overseen toy collections for Operation Santa Claus and other archdiocesan efforts.

``I want to break the negative stereotypes of young black males,'' Davis said. ``We're not all bad. We have positive ideas. I've been working on positive things for the past two years.''

Davis spent his first AmeriCorps year with YouthBuild, which teaches construction skills to poor kids, many of them dropouts.

Delegates were chosen by a panel that was led by Christine James Brown, the local United Way president, and that included local representatives of the Corporation for Public Service and the Points of Light Foundation, the national sponsors.

So far 139 cities are sending delegations, plus all 50 states. Mayors and governors will be leading most of delegations.

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