Some legendary Syracuse basketball players took time out to inspire and motivate some local teens on Sunday. October marks Anti-Bullying Awareness Month, and a local organization held a conference this weekend to take a stand against the issue. As YNN's Sheba Clarke explains, the goal is to help equip teens with tools for success.
ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- It's an event serving up food for thought to teens throughout the county.
"They can be anything that they want in life," said Marlin Johnson, with Flower City Elite.
It's that motivation that Johnson wants to provide to nearly 100 kids at this Tools for Success Conference. The conference is themed around motivation and anti-bullying, and is put on by Flower City Elite.
"Everyday life isn't easy so you can take some bad things and turn it into good based on the tools that you have," Johnson said.
It's a message that former Syracuse and professional basketball players Lawrence Moten and John Wallace helped spread. Like most, even they have their own experiences with bullying.
"It happened when when I was in first grade and the kid was in third grade and he took my lunch money one day and my dad was like 'are you going to give it to them tomorrow?' and I was like, 'I dont know," said Wallace. "At some point you have to stand up for yourself and maybe it will stop. I'm not saying that's the only way to do it but that's something that I did and it worked for me."
Youth advocacy programs across the county got to ask their own questions and hear the personal stories of accomplishment from the players and other members of a panel.
"It's like real good for people who want to play basketball and people who want to do stuff with there life. This really helps out," said Brad Johnson, 15.
Marlin said he hopes these youth not only take away autographs and pictures, but lasting advice for their future.
The players are expected to participate in a celebrity basketball game Monday at Bishop Kearney High School. Marlin pointed out that part two of the conference will be the weekend of October 20th. It will focus on even more anti-bullying issues.