DAVENPORT, Iowa -- Nearly 1,000 junior high and high school students are gathering Wednesday and Thursday at the RiverCenter in Davenport for this year's annual Quad Cities Youth Conference.
The conference's keynote presentation and 12 workshops center on the theme of inclusivity this year.
"This year we’re talking about inclusivity, and really looking at how, yes we all have differences, but what makes us the same?" said Faith Hardacre, a conference organizer. " What are the similarities, and even if we are very different, how can we respect each other? How can we still have civil discourse?" she said.
The bi-state, two day annual conference focuses on 7th through 12th graders in the Quad City area. Most of the participating schools are in Rock Island County and Scott County, but students at schools in Muscatine, Henry and Mercer counties are also taking part.
In one workshop, "Bullying is Whack," Rock Island High Schoolers offered 7th and 8th grade students strategies for dealing with bullies.
"The one thing they will leave with is knowing that people do get hurt by this," said sophomore Demario Rankin. "They hurt themselves, they get scarred emotionally, and they’re going through something that you may not know what it is," he said.
Hardacre said something that the organizers hoped to get across to students this year is that they don't have to like someone to get along with them.
"You don't have to be best friends with someone to work alongside with them and have that respectful relationship," Hardacre said.