News Release -- DRYS to Host Virtual “Youth Town Hall” to Support Children and Families During Coronavirus Pandemic

City of Rochester

News Release

(Monday, April 20, 2020) – Mayor Lovely A. Warren announced today that the Department of Recreation and Youth Services will host a “Youth Town Hall” virtual forum at 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 22 to provide children and families valuable information to help them cope with the Coronavirus pandemic.

“We are in the middle of an all-consuming, unprecedented worldwide challenge, but we cannot lose sight of the fact that our children represent the future success of our community,” said Mayor Warren. “We must remind our children that we are here for them and that we have their best interests in mind. I am so grateful to the panel of experts who have agreed to participate. I encourage all city youth to join this forum.”

The Youth Town Hall virtual forum will take place on the Zoom webinar platform and will feature a panel of four experts in physical and behavioral health. It will be moderated by Jayven Cruz, 14, the spokesperson for Youth Voice, One Vision, the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council.

The objective of the forum is to answer questions, debunk myths and dispel rumors surrounding the subject of the Coronavirus. Youth participants will learn about community resources and services; suggested self-care practices; and techniques for youth, caregivers and parents to support each other during these difficult times.
The moderator and panelists are:

Jayven Cruz, Spokesperson for Youth Voice One Vision (YVOV), The Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council (Moderator): In addition to serving at the YVOV spokesperson, Jayven also serves on the New York State Governor’s Youth Council. He is a 9th grade at World of Inquiry School No. 58 “I love working with the youth and my peers to make a change in our community and being an advocate for the people in my community who don’t have a voice,” he said.

Rena P. Dixon, PhD, (Master’s of Public Health) MCHES (Master Certified Health Education Specialist): Dr. Dixon is the Director of Health Services for Fact Forward in Columbia, SC. She oversees training for community partners working with youth and all who work with health care providers. She has extensive experience working with professionals and health centers on the topic of reproductive health services for adolescents and young adults.

Christina D. Molinero, LMSW (Licensed Master Social Worker): Ms. Molinero, is a Rochester Native, a graduate of Wilson Magnet High School, Monroe Community College, SUNY Brockport and Nazareth College. Christina holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Social Work and is a Licensed Social Worker. She has over 10 years of experience in the field including working within the Rochester City School District, Hillside Work Scholarship and most currently at the Anthony Jordan Health Center.

Michael A. Scharf, M.D.: Dr. Scharf is the Chief of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Director of Psychiatry, Graduate Medical Education at the University of Rochester Medical Center. He is a founding member of the Rochester Youth Violence Partnership, a hospital based violence intervention program, and the local site leader for Project TEACH: a NY State-wide program to provide education and clinical consultation to primary care doctors as they care for the mental health needs of children. Dr. Scharf is dedicated to ensuring access to quality mental health care for all children and adolescents in the Greater Rochester Region.

Lekeyah N. Wilson, M.D.: Dr. Wilson has been a pediatrician and adolescent medicine specialist at Rochester General Pediatric Associates for about seven years. She has a special interest in youth development and mental health. She is also the medical director for Rochester Regional Health’s five School Based Health Centers in the city of Rochester and the medical director for Monroe County Children’s Center and Industry School. 

April 22, Update: Two  additional experts agreed to join the Town Hall. They are:

Greta Davis, school social worker in the Rochester City School District: In her current placement at the World of Inquiry School No. 58, Ms. Davis serves as a liaison between home, school, and the broader community. She provides psychological counseling services; diagnostic testing; family support services and crisis intervention. Ms. Davis is a graduate of Monroe Community College where she earned her associate degree. She continued her studies as part of the 2+2 program with Nazareth College of Rochester where she earned her bachelor degree in social work. Greta went on to earn her master degree from Syracuse University. The traditional greeting among the Masai people in East Africa, “How are the children?” continues to guide Greta in her work as she recognizes the critical importance of our children’s global wellness in sustaining our community’s future. 

Lesli Myers-Small, PhE, New York State Assistant Commissioner of Education: Dr.  Myers-Small has dedicated her life to the development and implementation of high quality education.
Dr. Myers-Small received her bachelor’s degree in psychology and her master’s degree in counseling and human development, both from the University of Rochester. She continued her educational journey by earning a second master’s degree in Urban Educational Administration and her Doctor of Education in Executive Leadership from Saint John Fisher College.  

Meeting Details and Instructions

The Department of Recreation and Youth Services Youth Town Hall virtual forum will be held at 4 p.m., Wednesday, April 22. To participate in the Youth Town Hall virtual forum, participants will need access to the Zoom mobile app, desktop app or website at and follow the prompts to Join a Meeting. Webinar ID: 938-6871-0431; Webinar Password: 273304.


News Media: For more information, contact 311 (428-5990)