NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - It’s become something like a rite of passage in Middlesex County.

The fifth annual Young Men’s Conference is scheduled for Jan. 13 at the DCF Professional Center, 30 Van Dyke Ave., New Brunswick. The event is essentially a day filled with educational and leadership workshops designed to steer high-school boys away from drugs and alcohol while helping their pals to do the same.

This year’s theme is “Man Up: Empowering My Future Starting Today.” This is similar to prior themes, which have focused on boys becoming men, how their decisions affect their futures and now being a crucial time for attendees.

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In addition to drug and alcohol prevention, the 2017 conference will focus on wellness. It will also include breakfast, lunch and a “fun-filled hour of motivation, entertainment and music,” according to a county press release.

All attendees will leave with a backpack stocked with educational materials and a list of various resources for them to use as they brave the rest of their teenage years.

The ultimate goal, according to event organizers, is to “provide clarity on the varying topics that are key elements in encouraging young men on their journey to becoming productive young men and citizens.”

Middlesex County Vocational and Technical Schools, the Middlesex County Office of Human Services, New Brunswick Tomorrow and Empower Somerset have signed on to sponsor the event.

For more information, contact Tracey Maccia, the vocational school district’s director of special services, at (732) 257-3300, ext. 1962.