On Saturday, Oct. 6, there was no better place for teenagers and their parents to be than Hip Hop 4 Life’s (HH4L) fifth annual Youthfest. This free youth empowerment event, held at John Jay College from 9:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m., offered free healthy lunches and giveaways, including iPod touches, basketball tickets and even a basketball signed by members of the new Brooklyn Nets.

This year’s topic was “Combating Bullying.” Youthfest’s panel of celebrities educated teens and their parents on types of bullying, why someone becomes a bully, knowing the signs of bullying and how to get help. Youthfest was hosted by the one and only MC Lyte, with special appearances by Charlamagne Tha God and Angela Yee from 105.1’s “The Breakfast Club”; Charles LaSalle, leader of City Gym Boys, a fitness company; Mickey Flame; Code Pink; and David Rush. Even Kid ‘n Play came to show love.

“Youthfest is the place to be,” said 13-year-old Lorenzo Williams–and it was only Saturday. Students came up with Facebook pages, apps and even skits to combat bullying.

Sixteen-year-old Rochelle came alone, and by the end of the breakout session, she has made new friends and was collecting phone numbers. “I can’t wait to come back next year,” she said. I think most students would agree with her.

Tamekia Flowers-Holland, founder of HH4L and Youthfest, created the dynamics for an interactive, engaging event for teenagers. This year featured smaller breakout sessions. Flowers-Holland said that what sets Youthfest apart from other teen events is “their ability to key in to what teenagers are looking for in an event.” There were over 200 students in attendance.

For more information about Youthfest or HH4L, visit www.hiphop4lifeonline.com.