Metro-East News

Event Saturday to focus on helping youth make healthy decisions

The fourth bi-annual “Sharing Our Stories” event that focuses on youth in the Southwestern Illinois and St. Louis areas is from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Belleville East High School, 2555 West Blvd.

From 3-4 p.m. there will be a fitness event for all participants.

Sharing Our Stories was created by Dr. Dawn M. Porter, M.D.

”It is a grassroots effort with community partners to empower youth in making healthy decisions in their daily lives. This interactive, one-stop shop event emphasizes the connection between mental and physical wellness,” Porter said.

The program is geared toward middle, high school and college-aged students and the adults who influence their lives (teachers, mentors, parents, etc.)

Erika Kendrick, of Chicago, is the keynote speaker. She is described as a “mental fitness junky.” She has a degree in psychology from Stanford University and an MBA from the University of Illinois.

“She will tell her own story and share how it impacted her life personally and professionally and will reflect upon the importance of mental and physical health and wellness,” Porter said.

Also featured at the event will be Kareem Mateen, an East St. Louis native. He is a graduate of East St. Louis Senior High School and holds a bachelor’s of science degree from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, and a master of arts degree in school and professional counseling from Lindenwood University.

Doors open at 8 a.m. for check in and a continental breakfast. Registration is required. There will be a complimentary lunch served for all registered participants. Limited spaceis available. Go to to register.

Carolyn P. Smith: 618-239-2503