Youth as Leaders
Aug 12, 2019
FamilyMeans’ Youth Development programs offer many ways for young people to acquire and practice their leadership skills. CJ, a participant in our Cimarron Youth Bicycle Program, has been an invaluable help to our program leader, both in the bike shop and on the rides. Before rides, he has helped tune other kids’ bikes before departure. He has also planned and led a weekly bike ride. A multi-year participant in our program, CJ has matured into a good role model for other riders.
This past winter, Landfall teens had been learning about homelessness and deciding how they could help those unfortunate to be in that situation. They realized there was someone within the Landfall community, though not homeless, who was wearing thin and worn clothing and shoes. They decided to raise money to purchase him warm clothing, and created a short fundraising video outlining the need that successfully raised the funds for those purchases.
Cimarron teens have experienced discrimination within our community. They decided to educate, advocate and celebrate their diversity by hosting a community Cultural Awareness Night. With the support of FamilyMeans staff, teens developed a successful grant proposal to fund the project, led planning, and performed at the event. Audience surveys revealed that attendees became more aware of the growing diversity in Stillwater and Washington County.
Employers are increasingly stressing leadership experience as a skill necessary throughout their workforces. Good leaders are perceptive, responsive and creative. Our Youth Development programs are giving young people the opportunity to practice leadership in supportive, low-risk situations, building their self-awareness, confidence and potential for future success. Visit FamilyMeans.org/youthdevelopment to learn more about the many initiatives within our programming that help to foster leadership in our youth.
Written by Tom Yuska, FamilyMeans Youth Development Director