SEATTLE — It was Thursday evening and this south Seattle conference room was full of ideas, questions, and unapologetic youth.

“What we’re doing is empowering these young people and giving them that momentum and that voice to be able to step into that position of understanding their power,” said Dom Davis, who started the nonprofit Community Passageways.

This group worked on questions they plan to bring to candidates during a forum at City Hall on August 22. The youth will pose questions to candidates in races for the Seattle City Council, Port of Seattle Commission, Seattle Public Schools Board, and King County Council.

Jakari Deandre Brown led Thursday’s meeting and says where he is today is not where he would have ever expected he’d be.

“Even thinking about how much my mindset's changed, because when I first started finding CP I was coming straight out the traphouse,” Brown said.

Brown said he lived in a house with several adults who were all engaging in activities that left him frustrated and feeling lost. He said when he met Davis three years ago, he was ready.

Since meeting Uncle Dom, Brown said he now runs the social media for the nonprofit and started his own social media business. He encourages anyone who is in a similar position to look at him and see there are other ways to be successful.

"Hard work pays off, and hard work is a process," Brown said, "And whatever you want just identify how to get it and go get it."

Community Passageways does more than just the youth forum group – they also help young adults get through the legal system by working with courts on a felony diversion program.

“We don’t just say this is a get out of jail ticket or anything like that,” Davis said. “We need to make sure you’re ready for this, that you’re down for this, because it’s going to change your life.”