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Uniting for Change and Empowering Futures

by Interns Robert Carroll & Khalid Sublett with Jegna Klub Journalist Levi Lee

Kansas City, KS - On a balmy Tuesday evening, Washington High School in Kansas City, Kansas, became the epicenter of celebration, empowerment, and community engagement as it hosted JEGNAFEST 2024 feat The ROC Reunion Tour. A collaborative effort between Jegna Klub, Henderson Entertainment, and Mayor Tyrone Garner’s Office, the event aimed to unite communities, empower youth, and celebrate the achievements of individuals in Wyandotte County.

Empowering Youth Through Engagement

At the core of JEGNAFEST 2024 is a commitment to empowering youth through real-world service-learning experiences/projects and engagement initiatives. Coach Mo emphasized the transformative impact of the event on both detained youth and interns, stating, "Showing them how they can compete positively in society is a crucial step in helping them change their disposition on life."

Dr. Tyrone Bates Jr., CEO of True Empowering and a Jegna Klub Community Partner, echoed this sentiment, describing the Youth Engagement Tour inside the Wyandotte County Juvenile Detention Center as "an impactful experience aligning perfectly with the event's overarching theme of empowerment and community unity."

Terri McKinney-Brodus, the Wyandotte County JDC Administrator, expressed her gratitude for the opportunity to participate in the event, highlighting the positive interactions between the ROC Reunion artists Freeway & Beanie Sigel and the youths detained in JDC and adding Memphis Bleek to engage with the interns at Washington High School. She commended the interns for their professionalism and the sense of pride they exhibited, particularly highlighting the social butterfly, Intern Robert Carroll. Robert reflected on his experience at JEGNAFEST 2024, emphasizing the fun and camaraderie he experienced. He highlighted the supportive environment fostered by the Jegna Klub, stating, "The Jegna Klub makes you feel like home, and you never feel left out. It’s like a brotherhood, and it teaches you how to be your own boss and what leadership looks like."

Celebrating Achievement and Community Unity

The Tastemakers Red Carpet event provided an elegant platform to honor local talent, celebrate community achievements, and offer networking opportunities. Intern Khalid Sublett appreciated the diverse perspectives showcased during interviews, underscoring the importance of spreading awareness through events like JEGNAFEST. He advocated for the continuation of such events to further engage the community.

Isaiah Maxey, Assistant Coach at Jegna Klub, described the jubilant atmosphere during the event, emphasizing the significance of community cohesion and recognition. He highlighted the opportunity JEGNAFEST provides to bring the community together and acknowledge the contributions of its members.

Tone Henderson, CEO of Henderson Entertainment and a member of the Jegna Klub Leadership Team, emphasized the importance of honoring local achievements and providing real-world hands-on experiences to today's youth. He underscored the role of JEGNAFEST in showcasing the youths' creativity and talent as well as highlighting community accomplishments within Wyandotte County.

A Grandmother's Perspective

Andrea Parks, grandmother of Connecting The Dottes Intern Omarion, shared her positive experience at JEGNAFEST 2024. She remarked, "My experience was very positive. The atmosphere was great. I felt safe and that everything was under control." Parks found the event's most memorable aspect to be "seeing those pioneers of our community being honored for giving back to our community and being the leaders of our community." She also appreciated watching the young men set up for the event, highlighting their dedication and commitment.

Expressing her support for future editions of JEGNAFEST, Parks stated, "I think there should be a Jegnafest 2025 to continue the honoring of those we have no idea who has shown their light on our community. Our community needs to know that they have not been forgotten." She concluded with a heartfelt message to Moses Wyatt Jr., saying, "Moses, here’s a big KUDOS to you and the boys for a very successful event. Thank you!"

Looking Towards the Future

As the evening culminated in the Wyandotte County Lifetime Achievement Awards, honoree Ondra Penn reflected on the experience. While appreciative of the support and recognition, Penn's sentiments echoed the desire for JEGNAFEST to continue its legacy of empowerment and community engagement. She advocated for the event to continue as a service-learning experience for interns, providing them with historical knowledge and organizational skills.

JEGNAFEST 2024 stands as a testament to the power of unity, empowerment, and celebration within communities. KCKPS Superintendent Dr Anna Stubblefield expressed, "It was an honor to attend JEGNAFEST 2024 and present the Education Award at the Wyandotte County Lifetime Achievement Awards. Thank you Moses Wyatt Jr. and the Jenga Klub for hosting a phenomenal event!" As plans for JEGNAFEST 2025 take shape, the legacy of positive change and inclusivity established by its predecessor will undoubtedly continue to inspire and uplift individuals across Wyandotte County.


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