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Concluding a successful and rewarding conference, New York Yankees shortstop and captain Derek Jeter participated in a special panel discussion for the bi-annual conference's 250 high school students. Joined by Ronnie Cho, associate director of the Office of Public Engagement and White House liaison to young Americans; Marion Jones, world champion track and field athlete and former WNBA player; Ron Cortina, vice president of Goldman Sachs; and motivational speakers and best-selling authors, The Three Doctors, Dr. Sampson Davis, Dr. George Jenkins and Dr. Rameck Hunt, the panel was moderated by award-winning journalist and CEO of Starfish Media Group, Soledad O'Brien. The impressive panel addressed topics critical to today's youth, including bullying, self-image and coping with tragedy.
"These high school students -- who have traveled far and wide to come together and identify solutions to the challenges affecting folks their age -- are certainly an inspiration to me and I think we can all learn from the example they've set," Jeter said. "I know they will take what they've learned at the Jeter's Leaders Leadership Conference and use these lessons to make their communities better."
"Every day, young people throughout the country demonstrate they are capable of doing remarkable things and inspiring us all," Cho said. "The Jeter's Leaders Leadership Conference gives them an opportunity to make their voices heard -- to speak up about the issues that really affect them and to take charge of finding solutions. That is what leadership is all about."
President Obama also wrote a letter that was read at the conference, commending the Turn 2 Foundation and Jeter's Leaders for their contributions to youth development and commitment to promoting academic excellence, positive behavior and healthy lifestyles.
The Leadership Conference was organized by members of Jeter's Leaders, an intensive, four-year leadership development initiative for high school students who are role models in their communities. Jeter's Leaders is the signature program of the Turn 2 Foundation, which was established by Jeter in 1996 to motivate young people to turn away from drugs and alcohol and "turn to" healthy lifestyles.
"Goldman Sachs is proud to support the Turn 2 Foundation and it's Jeter's Leaders Conference in Chicago this year both through sponsorship and with our Community Team Works initiative participating in the project at James Ward Elementary School. We applaud the Foundation's commitment and dedication to developing the youth of our communities," said Tucker York, global head of private wealth management for Goldman Sachs.
"The Jeter's Leaders Leadership Conference is evidence that young people are cable of being role models and affecting positive change in their communities," Sharlee Jeter, president of the Turn 2 Foundation, said. "Our Jeter's Leaders worked tirelessly to develop this conference, and we could not be more proud of the example they have set."
Since its launch in 1996, the Turn 2 Foundation has awarded more than $18 million in grants.