Their goal is to steer kids away from drugs and alcohol.
69 middle and high school students from Rapid City are getting the message at the Youth to Youth Conference that started Thursday.
Thursday morning, that message came from Johan Khalilian.
He shared his story of growing up in Chicago and making the tough choices to stay away from the gangs, violence and drugs that were commonplace in his neighborhood.
Khalilian now travels the country as a speaker.
Kids from here may not face the same challenges he had in Chicago but making the right choices can still be tough.
Stevens senior Taylor Diboni says, "With our generation today, it's going around a lot. So it's really hard to stay away from it. I haven't done anything personally and I'm really proud of that and we're hoping to keep that going."
Johan Khalilian says, "Part of it there's no amount of adversity you can't overcome. There may be a point in your life where you're the outcast, but that may be the pathway to actually be the person who makes a difference."
The Youth to Youth Conference is sponsored by Lifeways and is being held at the Cedar Canyon Camp in Rapid City.
It wraps up Friday.