United Nations Youth rep brings message to PCHS

Published 8:30 pm Thursday, December 2, 2010

Students at Pike County High School weren’t used to having a celebrity in the house and the excitement was electric as actress and United Nations Youth Champion Monique Coleman took center stage at the school gymnasium Wednesday morning.

Coleman attracted a large fan following in her role as Taylor McKessie in “High School Musical” and then on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.”

With a resume like that, a PCHS student quizzed Coleman as to “Why are you here?”

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Undaunted by the question, Coleman said that when she decided to take her “Gimme Mo” tour on the road, she wanted to take it to Small Town USA rather than New York, Los Angeles or Chicago.

“I want young people everywhere to know that anything is possible,” she told the PCHS students. “There is no difference in any of us. It’s the choices that we make that make the difference. Choices lead to results so it’s important for us to make the right choices.”

Coleman told the students that she didn’t come from a family with money.

“When I was came home from ‘High School Musical,’ I came home to notices,” she said. “There were times when I only had five ingredients in my kitchen. But overcoming obstacles make you stronger.”

A student asked Coleman who inspired her and she quickly answered that her inspiration comes from God.

“I have a strong relationship with God,” she said and received applause from the students. “God and my family are my inspiration, especially my mom who found a way out of no way.”

Coleman encouraged the students to become involved and to do more than is expected of them, to “Gimme Mo” of their talents, abilities, energies, enthusiasm and dedication.

Coleman’s “Gimme Mo’ web talk show premiered on Sept. 8 and has quickly become popular among the teen population. The show is aimed at inspiring and empowering young people.

“Young people are constantly on the web,” she said. “So this is the best place to reach them. Each episode centers around a compelling topic.”

On “Gimme Mo,” Coleman facilitates safe conversation about real issues, brings awareness to organizations that are serving teens and conducts celebrity interviews.

“It’s time for our young people to wake up and be grateful,” Coleman said. “Only 15 percent of the world lives in developed countries. That means that 85 percent of the world’s population survives on about two dollars a week. Our young people need to open their eyes to the resources that are available to them. They need to learn that, to be happy, they have to look within themselves, not outside themselves.”

Coleman said she is excited to have the opportunity to speak with young people and carry her message of empowerment to them, through “Gimme Mo” and as the first United Nations Youth Champion.

As the United Nations Youth Champion, Coleman will work to raise awareness about the challenges young people face and will highlight the positive contributions they make to their communities.

“Being Youth Champion is beyond an honor,” Coleman said. “As Youth Champion, I will promote the global efforts to achieve the anti-poverty Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which have a 2015 deadline with special emphasis on the empowerment of youth.”

“The MDGs include ending poverty, gender equality and primary education for everybody in the world and I know that’s a tall order,” Coleman said.

“But, if I can do one small thing and, if I can encourage young people to give – time, not money, to make the world a better place, that’s what I want to do.”