Youth Forward scholarship 2016 – Listening To Our Youth

Name: Johniece Bell
From: Indianapolis, Indiana
Grade: 12
School: North Central High School
Votes: 0

Johniece
Bell

North
Central High School

Listening
to Our Youth

I am currently volunteering at a Reach for Youth program in
Indianapolis, Indiana that strives to help young teens get on the
path to success. This program allows teens to express themselves
without being judged and gives them positive feedback. I chose this
program because as I became a teen I found myself getting into
trouble in school with no one to talk to and quickly realized I was
not going in the right direction. I found some information on
counselors at Reach for Youth to talk to and quickly became involved.
Once I began to better myself I wanted to help other teens just like
me to get on the right path and better themselves as well.

I volunteer five hours a week after school and before I go to work when
I am able. My responsibilities as a volunteer are to come up with
activities that will warm the teens up to each other known as “Ice
breakers”. I make discussion groups and share ways they can deal
with their emotional problems without taking them out on other people
around them. I teach them healthy ways to communicate and ways to
deal with anger such as: going for a walk or counting to ten until
they have calmed down enough to get their point across. I find that
my biggest challenge as a volunteer is getting the teenagers to take
me serious and getting them to understand I am on their side and
trying to help. I find it challenging to get them to believe I truly
want them to succeed because Reach for Youth is about having everyone
come together and not stand against one another.

What has given me the most satisfaction out of volunteering is knowing
that I am helping a troubled teen find their way to success. Knowing
that I can have an impact on someone’s life in a positive way is
the most satisfaction I have gotten out of the Reach for Youth
program. I have learned that having patience will get you so far when
communicating with other people. Letting someone take their time to
explain their feelings will allow a person to know you are not
rushing them into anything and you are willing to listen. I have also
learned that silence will lead a person to start talking and open up
quickly.

My activities are forward looking because I love helping and interacting
with people. Forward looking means progress in my eyes, and to push
forward with what makes you happy on a daily basis. I hope to change
the fact that our youth feels unheard and like they have no one to
talk to. Yes, in ten or twenty years I think my work will have made a
difference because communication is becoming more important as the
years go on and teens are finding new ways to express themselves.


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