It started with a bang as Beat the Streets marching band paraded through Cortana Mall and ended with the frank discussions of topics affecting teens and young adults. In the middle, the second annual Total Teen Takeover focused on the teens, their interests, challenges and futures.

The second Takeover, held Saturday was a joint effort of business and nonprofit groups that included Big Buddy Mentoring Baton Rouge, Lexlee’s Kids, Healthy Blue, Cortana Mall and the Baton Rouge Youth Coalition.

Healthy improvement was a central theme — healthy minds, healthy bodies, healthy directions. Several workshops were offered centering on self-love, positive decision-making, and teen concerns addressed in a teen town hall meeting.

Kathy Victorian, a representative of Healthy Blue, said the managed care organization is concerned with more than the physical health of participants. She said the second annual Total Teen Takeover was an opportunity for teens have a social event and take part in conversations with peers related to suicide, body-shaming and other areas of risks for young people.

A panel discussion of community and business leaders took questions and posed discussions to teens during the concluding Town Hall Meeting. Byron Wade, offensive coordinator of the Baker High School football team, did not discuss sports but pulled from personal perspectives on life, direction and decision-making. “We discussed healthy relationships and how to maintain healthy relationships,” Wade said. “Also, we discussed domestic violence and ways to avoid impulsive decisions. I told them they must understand that there’s a time and place for everything.”

Alexus Maiden, 17, reflected on many take-aways from the Town Hall. “We talked about how to carry yourself, take more responsibilities and remembering to follow-through,” she said.

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