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Coming up on Connections: Friday, February 3, 2023

"Once a Boy" cover

First hour: Vietnam veteran Paul Gardner on lessons we can learn from war

Second hour: Teen Empowerment representatives on their plans for 2023

55 years after serving in Vietnam, Rochester native Paul Gardner decided to write a memoir. “Once a Boy” not only recounts his Vietnam experience, but also offers his views on who fights in wars and who does not, how the public perceives war, and lessons that we can still learn today. He’s in Rochester for a book signing this weekend, but first, he joins us on Connections. Our guest:

  • Paul Gardner, Vietnam veteran and author of “Once a Boy”

Then in our second hour, leaders, staff, and alumni at Teen Empowerment have their sights set on a new capital project that they say will transform their work and its impact in the community. The non-profit hires city youth as organizers to work in the neighborhoods where they live. Its plans include opening a new youth center and headquarters later this year, thanks, in part, to a large gift from a philanthropist. The gift comes at a time of divestment and an increase in violence in Rochester neighborhoods. This hour, we discuss the impact the new center is expected to have, and we hear about the positive change Teen Empowerment’s youth are making in the community. Our guests:

  • Doug Ackley, Rochester director for the Center for Teen Empowerment
  • Shanterra Mitchum, Rochester program director for the Center for Teen Empowerment
  • Destiny Ford, local alumnus of the Center for Teen Empowerment
  • Freemonta Strong, local alumnus of the Center for Teen Empowerment
  • Andy Nahas, founder of the Prospect Fund, and founder of
Evan Dawson is the host of "Connections with Evan Dawson." He joined WXXI in January 2014 after working at 13WHAM-TV, where he served as morning news anchor. He was hired as a reporter for 13WHAM-TV in 2003 before being promoted to anchor in 2007.
Megan Mack is the executive producer of "Connections with Evan Dawson" and live/televised engagement programming.