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Hundreds of kids learned Saturday how they can lead better lives at a leadership conference sponsored by the Toledo Youth Commission.
The message of the day was 'the power of me.'
One speaker after another talked about building healthy relationships, identifying positive role models and mentors and making good choices when things go wrong at home.
But Angel Tucker is the one who hammered home how 'the power of me' helped him avoid life's obstacles.
"'Power of me' basically is owning up to yourself. Understanding that it is you who is going to determine your future. Once I did that, stop blaming other people for my problems, life just took off for me," he said.
Mr. Tucker grew up on the tough streets of Toledo's Central Ave./Detroit Ave. neighborhood.
He says he was surrounded by criminal activity and economic despair.
There were daily temptations from negative influences.
"Being from the neighborhood I was from, I'd like to blame that on the neighborhood. Gangs, drugs, violence, all those things that plagued my community. I wanted to use those as a crutch. Once I realized I was only hurting myself, then I was able to turn it around," he said.
Today, Mr. Tucker is a patrolman in the Oregon Police Department.
His motto in life: "My life changed the day I discovered 'the power of me'", something kids at the conference also discovered.
"I'm learning a lot of empowering stuff that we should be ourselves and not worry about what other people are thinking about us," said Kierra Sandridge.
"If you're doing something wrong and being pressured into doing something, make sure you think about what's going to happen in your future," added Taeyana Willis.
A bright future, as long as you believe in 'the power of me.'