Teen Leaders of the Future is a youth lead group. The teens decide on the details of every project with limited advice and guidance from an adult. Everything including the name of the group and the rules are decided by the teens. The steps the youth take include brainstorming project ideas, voting on ideas, electing officers, applying for grants, making board presentations, telephone calls, seeking donations, finalizing all details, delivering the final project, reflecting on the project, and starting over.
Teen Leaders of the Future successfully completed the delivery of 25 gift boxes for other youth at Sunrise’s Pediatric Oncology through collaboration with Candlelighters and a $1000 grant from the city of Las Vegas Youth Neighborhood Association Partnership Program (YNAPP). The teens decided to add a personal touch to brighten the youth’s day by uniquely decorating each box. To fill the boxes the teens purchased 25 board games, journals, markers, books, baseball hats, pens, and candy for $250 under budget. They delivered the boxes to Sunrise on June 9, 2004, seeing for the first time the hard days the children face during their battles against cancer. Despite the sadness and discomfort that was visible on the faces of the teens, they delivered the boxes to every child on the floor and donated the remaining boxes to Candlelighters for newly diagnosed patients.
The project was originally planned to end there, however the teens decided that they wanted to follow-up with gifts for those youth during the holiday season. TLOF ordered fun pads, pens, candy, reindeer masks, noisemakers, and snowflake stockings that were delivered personally. The teens realized that they could make a difference, even if it was small and even if it was with one person at a time.
Recently the teens were awarded a second grant from YNAPP. One of the girls lost a friend to Lupus and so the teens decided to complete a bowl-a-thon in order to raise funding and awareness for Lupus. TLOF have recognized the severity of Lupus and discovered that there is no Lupus Foundation in Nevada. TLOF will be working with the Arthritis Foundation to complete this project.
TLOF set an example for their community through their dedication. By completing the projects they learn their strengths and discover new abilities. In addition, new friendships have formed creating a positive atmosphere that the younger children yearn to join.
These young volunteers’ service affects so many people. Their projects touch many, from the child in the hospital, to a visiting adult that they explain their project to.