The United Cultural Diversity Foundation may have touched on their goals and the plans being made for the 2007 Festival of United Cultures, but Monday night’s Diversity Forum meeting focused mostly on youth involvement.

Karin Olson Williams, David Prier, Scott Atnip and Patrick Antwi are working together to figure out the best ways for Walker County youth to get along with each other and ways for them to become actively involved in making their community a better place.

Williams spoke to the group Monday night about some of the ideas they’ve had, such as diversity events at the high school and doing a follow-up to a survey conducted last year by the Huntsville Youth Council to identify which areas youth are concerned with most.

“Once the survey is redone, we will then identify those low assets and then try and come up with specific strategies to address those,” Williams said. “We want to increase the low assets that are identified in that survey by 20 percent over the next five years.”

Williams is also hoping to see different churches come together, even on a small-scale level, to work together for the good of the community in what she called a “Mini-Impact Huntsville.”

“The idea is that we would encourage two or three churches to get together to conduct service projects for people that are in their own congregations,” she said. “It would be like the big Impact Huntsville, where several churches come together and help in the community, but this would be on a smaller scale.”

Before Walker County youth get involved in the UCDF, they need to know what the organization is and what they are trying to do. When asked for ideas on reaching them, Walker County Sheriff Clint McRae said the best idea is to go directly to them.

“Personal contact is always best,” McRae said. “Going to different areas to find out what events are occurring and trying to attend those would be the best way to get the word spread.”

Huntsville Police Chief Jean Sanders agreed with McRae and said those who are not reached directly by UCDF members may be reached by friends who have been contacted by UCDF members.

“I agree with the sheriff that personal contact is the best, and beyond that, I think, word of mouth,” Sanders said. “If you can get two, or several, to come to the meeting and show them what we are doing and they pass it on, I think that’s a great deal. The city of Huntsville has unique organizations already that we need to take advantage of and we’ve got kids at the schools that we need to keep in contact with also.”

The next meeting of the United Cultures Diversity Forum is scheduled for Aug. 14 at 7 p.m. at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in New Waverly.

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