LIVINGSTON, NJ — Carl Brister, a West Orange resident with two children in the after-care program at the West Essex YMCA, has been invited to perform his original songs “Turning Point” and “Stronger” when the Y launches its new “EMPOWER” program on Thursday.

According to YMCA Associate Executive Director Cheryl Francione, Brister’s songs align perfectly with what the EMPOWER program is all about.

EMPOWER, which is being introduced at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday at the Livingston Senior and Community Center as part of Livingston Youth Appreciation Week, is designed to help local teens manage the everyday pressures of school, sports and friendships and focus on feeling confident and happy.

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Inspirational guest speaker Jen Croneberger, a renowned author and a sports psychologist from Pennsylvania, will talk to participants about focusing on living courageously and confidently, in school, sports and in life in general. Her discussion, entitled “The Five C’s of a Champion,” is intended to encourage youth and adults alike to “show up as your best you every day.”

Read more about her discussion HERE.

Thanks to a grant from the Livingston Municipal Alliance Committee, the Y is able to expand its youth-and teen-development program through EMPOWER.

The program continues with a special Teen Night at the Y on Friday, May 19 from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. as part of YAW. Teens are invited to participate in a demonstration of the Y's new "EMPOWER" kickboxing class, which is designed to help local youth develop confidence in themselves by drawing out their inner strength.

Brister will return to Livingston on Sunday to perform once again at the YMCA’s annual Diversity Festival.