Governor Haslam keynote speaker at Young Life Chattanooga banque - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Governor Haslam keynote speaker at Young Life Chattanooga banquet

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -  No matter where you come from, life as a teenager has its ups and downs.

Taylor Mason tries to ease that burden.

“I can look at a high school girl and say, ‘I've been through it, I promise it gets better,' so I think that's what makes it easier because I've been through all the crap they've probably been through,” she said.

Mason has been a leader for Young Life Chattanooga for three years. Leaders like her help 5,000 area teens at 20 local schools discover their worth.

At a time when acceptance means everything, some teens turn to gangs, drugs and alcohol.

“I try my best to stay away from it,” John Townsend said.

Townsend is a Senior at Red Bank High School and says being a part of Young Life has helped him stay on a more positive path.

“Some of my friends do bad stuff and they want me to do it, but I don't want to go down that road,” he added.

Ashlee Cleveland says Young Life has helped her explore her faith as a Christian and connect with others like her.

“Being a Christian, I think, it's important that you have a bunch of people that help you through your journey and carry your burdens with you,” she said.

More than 500 area residents listened to Governor Bill Haslam as the keynote speaker at Monday's Annual Young Life Chattanooga Banquet. He's served with the organization for more than 25 years and wants to continue to help area teens become a different kind of statistic.

“Hopefully, I'll become a leader in the future,” Townsend said.

Young Life works in 75 countries reaching more than one million kids annually.
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