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The Deal is Still On – Hope Renewed Youth Conference June 10-12, 2016

Hope Renewed Youth Conference, Inc. (HRYC) is preparing for their 12th annual youth conference. 

This year’s conference theme is “The Deal is Still On.”


The conference will kick off at 1:00 p.m. Friday, June 10th at the River Plex. The cost for the 3-day event is $15. Registration will be available the day of the conference. However, book bags and t-shirts will not be guaranteed for any late registrants.

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Doc Illah

Friday night’s speaker is Doc Illah. A native of Chicago, Doc Illah (born Kendale Brinson) has learned from battles his entire life.

These battles began on the streets and continued during actual combat, while he served in the United States Army.

Over the course of more than 25 years as a soldier, being twice deployed to the Middle East, Doc Illah used internal and external conflicts to create what he refers to as his life’s work, an album called, “Lessons in Life.”




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Semenya McCord

This year’s Luncheon speaker is Semenya McCord. A vocalist, music educator, and composer, Semenya earned her degree in Music Education from Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois. Daughter of the late singer and guitarist Ken Henderson, she started her graduate study at University of Massachusetts in Amherst where she worked with Horace C. Boyer, Max Roach, and Archie Shepp. While in Amherst, she composed 19 songs for the play “Tomorrow Has Been Here and Gone,” and composed and recorded the title song for Archie Shepp’s “Trumpet in My Soul” LP (Arista). In 1988, she was awarded “Outstanding Jazz Vocalist” by the Boston Music Awards and in 1990 received the Martin Luther King, Jr. Award for “Musical Excellence” from the City of Boston.

The annual Town Hall meeting on Saturday, June 11 will be moderated by WMBD TV reporter and anchor Eugene Daniel. HRYC is pleased to have as part of this year’s panel the distinguished Judge Alicia Washington, of the 10th judicial circuit and the first African-American woman to be appointed to the bench in the Peoria area. They are also excited to have Dr. Jamel Santa Cruz Bell as a panelist. When she takes office July 1, Dr. Bell will become the first woman and the first African-American president of Eureka College in its 161-year history. Erickson Beck of Illinois Central

Colleges’ Emerging Leaders and Jomo Wilson, who is teaching in Peoria Public Schools as a long-term sub, while working toward his Masters Degree rounds out this year’s Town Hall panel.  The young people will have an opportunity to select workshops on drumming, hip-hop dance, music, and science. They will also participate in workshops that will be age and gender specific.

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Courtney Loveless

The conference concludes with the Hope Concert on Sunday, June 12th at ICC Performing Arts Center. If you like the vibe of Jill Scott, you will love the Feature Artist, Courtney Loveless. Courtney is from the St Louis area. She is a chemical engineer, singer and artist with a great passion for youth.

Courtney began her career singing professionally while in college at the University of Missouri Rolla, now Missouri University of Science and Technology. What began as singing in the church youth choir soon became sharing her unique musical style around the nation and the world.

Opening for Courtney and her band is Stephen White and a group he formed for the Hope Concert, “Beyond.” Graduating from Peoria High this year, Steven is heading off

to a Performing Arts School this fall. Last year he performed the song “Glory” with his Uncle Brandon Williams, the 2015 Friday night speaker. Steven has been attending HRYC since he was 11 years old and the conference is excited to have him be a feature act this year.

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HRYC partners are Illinois Central College, ELITE Youth Outreach, River Plex and BobKaiser Accounting. Sponsors are CEFCU, Ameren-Illinois, Illinois American Water, Geier Florist, CAAR, South Side Bank, First Federated Church, Universalist Unitarian Church, Mt. Zion Baptist, Abundant Hope Ministries, Judge John and Diane Vespa, Maui Jim Sunglasses, Bremer Jewelry, Bergner’s, and Kohl’s Cares.

State Farm agents Bob Humbles and Donna Watson are sponsors of (2) $500 Hope Scholarships. Jerry Johnson founder of “Devine Creations” has sponsored a 3rd $500 scholarship at this year’s conference. Any student entering college in the fall of 2016 is eligible to compete for one of the three scholarships. There will be a scholarship preparation workshop held on Friday, June 10, 2016 from 1:30-2:00 p.m. to give instructions on what will be required to qualify for one of the scholarships.

For more information or to register please visit or contact Sherry Cannon at 309/648-3445.