Guest speaker Michael Bortolotto

Youth summit encourages healthy choices

Youth Empowerment Summit held at Journey Middle School

RCMP Cpl. Scott Hilderley doesn’t get bothered by much anymore. In the span of 31 years as a police officer, he’s been shot at, run over with a car, attacked with an axe – even clubbed in the head.

But there’s one thing that breaks his heart every time: seeing youth plummet over the edge due to drug addiction and bad decisions.

“I hate to see kids lose their way. I see them when they lose their passion for life, lose their direction, and start making bad choices,” he said. “These days, those bad choices can catch up to you faster than ever before.”

Hilderley presents drug-prevention sessions every year called the Youth Empowerment Summit at Journey Middle School, along with the school’s youth council, to create awareness for youth. This time, though he did it differently – instead of lecturing the mantra, he listened.

“When I met with the kids, I asked them, what do you guys need, what you won’t learn in the school, what do you need to survive, to thrive as growing students into adulthood?” he said.

The students came through, showing curiosity about resiliency, healthy relationships, making healthy choices, stress management, family, balancing social life and school, and social belonging.

The day-long session was split into multiple sections, each one featuring a guest speaker that discussed a topic chosen by the students.

Starting off was motivational speaker Michael Bortolotto, who talked about resiliency, the importance of nourishing one’s talent, and his personal lifelong battle and drive to conquer cerebral palsy.

“Your brain is the most important thing you have going for you. You can lose an arm, a finger, a leg, but you can’t lose a brain. I can change me because I can think,” Bortolotto said.

Bortolotto’s resounding message was to never forget about chasing one’s dream and passion, regardless of what challenges may lay ahead.

“You have to be very selfish. I encourage you to be selfish, don’t listen to what other people say you can’t do or you won’t ever do.”


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Victoria High School. (Black Press Media file photo)
Alumni Association abandons plans for eight-lane track at Vic High

SD61 spokesperson says easement, which makes 8-lane track impossible, left out of consultation

Victoria police Chief Const. Del Manak appreciates the efforts of residents and business owners who took part in the VicPD community survey. The questionnaire saw a combined nearly 1,000 respondents from Victoria and Esquimalt. (Black Press Media file photo)
VicPD survey says: overall satisfaction positive, accountability needs work

Respondents feel safe during day, not so much at night; more police presence would help

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is looking for this man, who they say stole a charity box. (Facebook/Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers)
Crime Stoppers looking for man who stole charity box from Saanich grocery store

Anyone with information asked to call Crime Stoppers

Sooke man Rik Downer spent two weeks in the Royal Jubilee Hospital after contracting flesh-eating bacteria. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Sooke man’s bumped knee leads to fight for life

Man unknowingly contracts case of rare flesh-eating disease

Kwick’kanum (Eric Pelkey), a hereditary chief of the Tsawout Nation, addressed the crowd that gathered at Mount Newton Cross Road and Highway 17 on Oct. 23. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
UPDATED: Pat Bay Highway reopens after rally supporting Mi’kmaq fishing rights

Supporters call on government to recognize Indigenous treaty rights

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Advance polls are open from Oct. 15 to 21 with election day on Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)
100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

U.S. border officers at the Peace Arch crossing arrested two men on California warrants this week. (File photo)
Ottawa predicts system delays, backlogs unless court extends life of refugee pact

Canada and the United States recognize each other as safe places to seek protection

Most Read