MONROE, La (KNOE 8 News) Northeast Louisiana is often cast in a negative light in terms of economy, education, and healthcare.
But Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Louisiana is coming together and are trying to make a change.
Big Brothers Big Sisters is doing that is by offering their 5th annual Civic Engagement Institute for Youth.
The Civic Engagement Institute is opened to high school sophomores and juniors.
Students from all different races and wealth status will come together to learn; about the shocking stats Northeast Louisiana faces.
Then they will work as a team to research; then try to come up with solutions to change the fact the area has a high poverty rate, low high school graduation rate, and a very high juvenile incarceration rate.
Big Brothers Big Sisters Director Jacquiela Dorsey said students are shocked to find those stats out.
Dorsey said it's great because all the participants come from diverse backgrounds and it's a great learning experience.
"Everybody is equal in that room and they learn that as they get ready to go out into the world. They understand that I have to treat everybody the same regardless, and that's the only way we are going to be able to work together and make the world better", Big Brothers Big Sisters Director Jacquiela Dorsey said.
Tuesday; April 5, 2016 is the last day to sign up to attend the event.
To register there's a link in the "related links" section or you can call (318) 323-9034.
There will be door prizes available to any the participates and a list of special guest speakers.
The two day event will take place Wednesday, April 6, 2016 4:00-7:00 pm & Thursday, April 7, 2016 8:00 am-5:00 pm.
Students will receive an excused absence from school for April 7 to attend this special event
This event is free of charge for participants, however transportation is not provided.
Any students that attend will be eligible for the Big Brothers Big Sisters college scholarship.