Creating Student Leaders in Our Communities

Creating Student Leaders in Our Communities

Working with the Yes Network this summer I really enjoyed getting to know our high school assistants. In the afternoons, I worked in a neighborhood were eight local high school students helped me and my colleagues serve food and lead games. At the beginning of the summer, I would have guessed that they were all shy kids. By the end of the summer I realized how wrong this assumption was. Working together we developed a rapport and they became more comfortable being themselves. I would have never guessed, for example, that one teenage girl who I initially took to be timid would later delight in loudly but playfully chastising me whenever I was running late. As I got to know these young people they really opened up. They told me why they wanted to help with the Yes Network to help serve their community and they shared what they wanted to do when they got older. One told me he planned to go to college to study computer programming and another told me he wanted to serve in the military.

One of my favorite stories of our high school assistants happened near the end of the summer. It was a particularly hot day and a lot of us were sitting in the shade of one of our pop up tents. One of my colleagues had a portable speaker and was taking requests from the kids for songs to play. As we sat there, a couple of the high schoolers asked for a song. When it started playing they sang along. Joining arm in arm, they swayed with the music and laughed with one another and the younger kids around them. It was such a joy to see them so at ease. These teenagers, who had seemed so timid when I first met them, were in fact confident and social. I enjoyed getting to know each of them and it was clear that the younger kids in their neighborhood looked up to them.

Written By: Levi Heath

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