Congressman Adam Kinzinger hosts 2019 Youth Leadership Summit

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LASALLE COUNTY, Ill. (WIFR) -- Juniors and seniors from all over the 16th District gathered at Illinois Valley Community College to spend the day learning from leaders in the community.

"I was always interested in leadership as a young kid. The challenges you go through whether you got bullied or you even do some bullying, all lead to where I am today. At some point, I realized there is a lot of value in that story," said Kinzinger.

Students say it's not always easy to learn from adults or people who hold leadership positions. They say learning about their struggles and hearing their tips will help them reach their goals.

"We have that title that we are leaders, more people look to us and expect us to act a certain way. Just being around people who know how that feels is a fun part of this," said junior Melanie Gonzalez.

Crystal Savage from the Rockford Rescue Mission spoke to students about her journey to success and hopes she can inspire them to overcome their struggles and achieve their dreams.

"We need to learn how to lead others, how to treat others, how to inspire and motivate others. But I think we first have to learn how to lead and inspire ourselves and how to love ourselves first."

Another guest speaker was Attorney Erika Harold. The event has been held each year for almost a decade.