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By Jeff Pack

Youth learn to empower themselves through self-discovery


Last updated 7/11/2019 at 11:47pm

Jeff Pack photo

The Empowerment Center Founder Tiffany Baker shares a laugh on stage with Marie Scales during the Youth Showcase event Thursday, June 27.

There were plenty of laughs and smiles – tears as well – during the Youth Showcase event celebrating the end of The Empowerment Center's Youth Strengths Camp with the hashtag "#SummerEdition" Thursday, June 27, at the center's headquarters in Temecula.

More than 20 young people between the ages of 10 and 14 attended the camp, and on Thursday, several of the young people set aside their fears about public speaking and shared what they learned during camp in front of friends and families of the campers.

Founder Tiffany Baker welcomed the crowd and introduced the children.

"I have never seen a bunch of kids that want to get up and talk," Baker said. "We want to hear them, we want to hear them tell us how great they are. What they love about themselves, what they learned about themselves."

The Empowerment Center is a "strengths-based 501(c)(3) organization specializing in providing breakthrough methods of change that instill hope and build resiliency through our three areas of focus: Youth Development and Empowerment, Solutions-based Training and Community Engagement."

The center also specializes in financial literacy, character development and clinical solutions-based training. They also specialize in working with foster children. The center is run entirely by volunteers.

On Thursday, it was all about what the children learned and experienced during the camp. They also pointed out personality strengths traits – such as organized, caring, confidence, competition and achieving – that they were able to identify during camp.

By recognizing their strengths, the children can better understand their strengths.

"I have confidence and I have competition because I love competing with my brother, and then I have presence because I like standing in front of crowds like you," Brody Kornegay said. "I have confidence because I have the confidence to even stand on the stage."

Maddy Saruwatari talked about how she was able to find her strengths with the help of camp teachers.

"For example, my strengths are caring, competing and achieving," Maddy said. "I believe all of these describe me, but the one that best fits my personality is competing. I'm always up for friendly competition."

She thanked her teachers, parents, and Baker for helping her through the process of discovery – even when she makes a mistake.

"They are always making me do my very best in everything I do and if I do something wrong, they will help me fix it quickly," Maddy said. "And not only will they make me fix it, (but they will) also make me fix it with a smile on my face.

"My favorite part about this camp has been meeting new people and being able to have heart-to-heart conversations without feeling uncomfortable, so, thank you for this," she said.

Maddy's brother, Korey, was next and got emotional, needing to take a break before speaking.

"When kids find out about themselves, this is very powerful, we're doing it in a very simple way," Baker said. "But it is very impactful. Adults stand up here and weep when I do it for adults, they weep. So, he's a representation of the energy in the room, he's a representation of what the kids have shared."

Korey continued.

"Before this, I was always teased by my family for asking too many questions," Korey said. "So, now I know why because I have discover which means I ask a lot of questions. I have presence which means I like to be the center of attention, and I am competing because I love to win and hate to lose."

Ulysses Santana wore a burgundy suit and tie in honor of the day.

Jeff Pack photo

Camp Leader Journey Lawrence talks about how the center helped her before she joined.

"Everybody here has been fun, nice, (and had a) positive attitude," Ulysses said. "It's been very fun, the lunch was good, because I like eating. It's just been a great experience, it's just incredible."

Baker also announced a new partnership with the Ken Welton Jr. Foundation, a nonprofit formed by Ken Welton Jr.'s parents, following the death of their son.

Together, they are going to create programs for athletes.

"I feel very honored," Baker said while hugging Welton's mother, Lorie Herrick. "She created this foundation because her son passed. Now she's trusting us to be a part of that. Thank you."

For more information about The Empowerment Center, visit

Jeff Pack can be reached by email at [email protected]


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