Community leaders are bringing encouragement to hundreds of students around Kern County.
It's all part of the annual youth leadership conference that's organized by the Wendale Davis Foundation.
It's life lessons most students won't find inside a classroom and it's through people's own experiences organizers hope to teach and inspire.
Jay Von Ruffus, 16, is listening closely.
"It's helping other kids and me by being you know influential to our lives because if no one does it and if there is no one else doing it, who will,” he said.
He's participating in the youth leadership conference, hoping to turn his life around.
“I actually think the foundation is doing something great because there are a lot of students out here. It's like two ways to go and people are stuck in which way to go and the right way is the easy way because the hard way is not good at all," said Ruffus.
Leaders with the Wendale Davis Foundation organize the event.
Inmates were invited to attend and share their experiences in jail and share with students exactly why they ended up behind bars.
"As you noticed the new fad in Bakersfield, there's a lot of crime going on so, we want people that actually behind bars that can show up and say you know what i rather have my life on the outside than in the inside and if you're doing the things we're doing, this is where you'll end up," said Wesley Davis with the organization.
Organizers say speakers who have gone through challenges in life help make the conversation a bit more real.
“We're just making the young people aware of the consequences. Every action, calls as a reaction," he said.
The group also involved leaders from colleges and career services to talk with students about their futures.