29th Annual Walk In My Shoes: Annual BRIDGES Youth Conference
Friday, March 23rd, 2018 at University of California, Irvine

“I loved all of the presentations and presenters! I am so glad I got the opportunity to come!”

Empowering Youth Leaders

Walk In My Shoes, OC Human Relations’ Annual BRIDGES Youth Conference, brings together students from across Orange County to explore issues of identity and culture, develop leadership skills, and learn from examples of successful youth activism. The goal is to empower and mobilize students to work towards creating positive social change. In keeping with the direction of the BRIDGES Safe & Respectful Schools Program, an emphasis is placed on providing students with workshops that illustrate community organizing and opportunities to get involved in making a difference in their schools, communities, and the world. This year’s conference theme was: “In Solidarity, In Struggle”.

“The speeches were very inspiring, and I think the video was a really nice way to start the conference.”

A Look at Walk In My Shoes 2018

This year’s conference was held at University of California, Irvine and was hosted by Dr. Thomas A. Parham, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs.

The opening ceremony featured a welcome from Dr. Ramen Talesh, Dean of Students and Assistant Vice Chancellor, Student Life & Leadership and Alison Edwards, Chief Executive Officer of OC Human Relations, and included a special recognition of the conference’s title sponsor, Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian, a long-time supporter of Walk In My Shoes.

The session ended with special keynote speaker, Sandra Robbie, the Emmy-winning writer/producer of the PBS documentary Mendez vs. Westminster: For All the Children/Para Todos Los Niños. The film explores the surprising story of the landmark 1947 Orange County civil rights case that helped make California the first state to end school segregation, paving the way to Brown v. Board of Education seven years later.

Walk In My Shoes was emceed by members of OC Human Relations’ student internship program, the Human Relations Ambassadors Program (HRAP): Francine Tran (Fountain Valley High School) and Bikrum Sawhney (Fairmont Preparatory Academy), who emphasized the value of being involved in positive community change and leadership as a young person.

After the opening session, participants were invited to attend over 12 different workshops offered in three successive time slots. The workshops were presented by high school students, college students, community educators, and field expert professionals. After the workshop breakout sessions, students enjoyed lunch and performances by Lunar Blooming, a new up and coming indie trio of girls from Huntington Beach, California.

Every student received a free Walk In My Shoes Youth Conference t-shirt, sponsored by Hoag Memorial Hospital.

“It was great. I enjoyed everything and it gave me a bigger view on certain things.”

Community Support

  • More than 500 students and educators from 19 Orange County middle schools attended.
  • More than 10 community organizations hosted workshop sessions, shared professional insight, and inspired youth.
  • Over 15 OCHR staff and BRIDGES Human Relations Ambassador Program Participants collaborated on event setup, registration, emceeing, leading lunch, and hosting and presenting workshops.
  • Thank you to Board Members and Community Partners who were present as well: Sue Reese, Minzah Malik, Jim Lehmann, and Christian Lopez.

“I enjoyed meeting other people from various schools and learning about the history of Orange County.”

Valued Partnerships

Generous funding for Walk In My Shoes was provided by donations from: Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian, Dr. Thomas A. Parham and our host, University of California, Irvine, Office Student Affairs.

“I enjoyed this conference more than I expected now that I have a wider view of all these real-world topics”

Thank you to generous support from
Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian, University of California, Irvine,
Banc of California, Office of Supervisor Todd Spitzer, and County of Orange

A Big Thank You to our Supporters!

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