Lead to Succeed is an industry-driven youth leadership development program in which college students mentor a team of high school students in a service learning project that addresses needs identified by local non-profit organizations. Students awaken their inner leader and sharpen their problem solving skills while they help design and execute each unique and impactful service learning project.
College Mentors lead a team of high school students in learning the importance of youth volunteerism then developing creative and innovative ways to spread the word to their peers.
After getting to know some of the students and seeing how they interact, I think this will be a great opportunity for them to channel their energy into this project. In one of our group meetings, La’Ketta Caldwell and Shannon Roundtree had the great idea of splitting the students into groups and having them think of a commercial about volunteering that would appeal to other youth. The commercials the groups came up with were very diverse and so creative. I really think it helped them get a grasp on why volunteering is so important.
Bonnie Andrews, from the Nonprofit Center of Milwaukee, was able to come in and talk to the group to point out some of her expectations and open their eyes to volunteerism. It was nice to have her come in because she was able to talk about the Nonprofit Center and what she does there. This benefitted the students because I think it helped them understand who they were doing the project for.
At the end of our last meeting, the kids were able to actually partake in the activity of volunteering. We were able to go upstairs and read to the young children they call PALS. I could tell the students were eager to help the children. Now that they all have an understanding of what volunteering is and why it is important, we are going to start putting all the great advice into a presentation.
Hi! My name is Luke Chambers, a new Lead to Succeed college mentor that will be assisting in the Youth Volunteerism Campaign and the Financial Literacy Project. This week was my first week at the Boys and Girls club for the Youth Volunteerism Campaign. For the first half hour of the session, Bonnie Andrews from the Volunteer Center spoke about volunteering and its many aspects. The students were interactive, brainstorming, and realizing the importance of volunteering. Having Bonnie come in and speak was very helpful and the students learned a valuable amount of information. We followed up with an ice breaker in which the student had fun with. Following that, we separated the students up into small groups to read Dr. Seuss books to younger kids at the Boys and Girls Club. The students were active, engaging, and friendly to the younger kids. This group is filled with energy, and when they focus that energy, I feel the group will be very successful in the promotion of Volunteerism.
Since I last talked to you, many new things have happened at the Mary Ryan division of the Boys and Girls Club. Taking what we have already talked about volunteering, the group made some major decisions about what their project would be. Along with the teen’s ideas, mentors met with Bonnie Andrews, our community leader from the Nonprofit Center of Milwaukee, to see exactly what was needed for her agency since the Nonprofit Center is supporting the Lead to Succeed program. After meeting with Bonnie, I gained many helpful hints and a better grasp of exactly what the project is and what is needed to complete it. Some of the things mentioned about our volunteer project were creating a power point presentation that can be given to other local high schools. This is the main purpose of the project and with the help of the mentors and other adults; Lead to Succeed envisions a very knowledgeable presentation that can either be presented with the whole group if feasible or without, if there are time conflicts.
Besides the power point, other media arose to try and make this project more compatible to a larger audience. With the group of teens and mentors, the project could also include a video of the students volunteering or just interviews of the students. Along with the video, some other suggestions were to try and make this volunteer project a jump start to a career. By continuing to remind the students that volunteering opens possibilities to references, resume building, or just knowing more people to network with makes this project a huge statement in many of the teen’s lives.
After the mentors met with Bonnie, Mrs. Andrews was able to lead a 30-45 minute presentation about volunteering and nonprofit organizations to the students. It was great to see the students engage in some of the questions she had for them and also just to see exactly what they think about volunteering and what possibilities are out there. In fact, many students were unaware of what a Nonprofit is, and what purpose they have in volunteering.
After a quick ice breaker of trying to “untangle” the group, we were able to participate in our first volunteering event as a group. As a group, we read Dr. Seuss books (his birthday) to a bunch of youth that also attend the Boys and Girls Club. After taking a step back, I noticed that it was the exact same as the teens looking up to me, many of the youth began high fiving and becoming attached to their “mentors,” the high school teens. After reading to the class the Dr. Seuss books, it was another night of mentoring done at the Boys and Girls Club and I could definitely see the impact we are already having on other people’s lives.