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FCCLA opens door for cultural diversity

Annie Krueger (second from left) and Chelsea Cossette (fourth from left) helped bring Youthrive and Pelican Rapids students to Lake Park-Audubon to speak about different races and cultures living together.

It started out as an inspirational speaking group at the FCCLA Fall Leadership Summit and ended up being on location in Lake Park-Audubon High School thanks to the encouragement of FCCLA members Chelsea Cossette and Annie Krueger.

Chelsea and Annie were so impressed with the Youthrive Panel that spoke at the FCCLA Leadership Summit in November, they worked to help arrange their speaking engagement at LPA High School.

Youthrive is a group of high school and college-age students from the metro area that promote peace and an understanding of various cultures. Supporting the work of PEACEJAM International, Youthrive's mission is to expand acceptance of cultural differences and attempting to get to know people for who they are, not making assumptions based on how they look.

Along with four Youthrive members, three Pelican Rapids High School students, originally from Egypt, Africa and Somalia, spoke to the students about their personal experiences with facing diversity and cultural change.

Annie and Chelsea surveyed the students in grades 9-12 the day after, and asked them to identify one thing they learned from listening to the various panelists. Many positive comments were made including, "I'm not just in my own world. This presentation was a real eye-opener."

One senior wrote, "just ask; do not assume the reasoning behind the action of others." And one freshman wrote, "this presentation helped me realize what different people have to go through to get the life that many of us take for granted."

As a follow-up, Annie and Chelsea plan to keep in contact with the new friends they made and hope to attend future events that promote positive cultural diversity issues.