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"This stadium is enormous! I'm so glad to have the opportunity to see it," said Gavin, a junior in the program. The size, lights, and atmosphere of the stadium made the evening even more exciting. The group anxiously grabbed their meal vouchers and headed to their seats. After an unfortunate 45-minute rain delay, the game began and the group was able to see Derek in action! Although the game was close and Derek played well, the Yankees fell to the White Sox in the bottom of the ninth.
The New York and Kalamazoo Jeter's Leaders arrived at the downtown Embassy Suites Hotel and greeted each other at a pre-arranged pizza party. Some of the Leaders were in Washington D.C. for the first time and expressed their excitement.
Dr. Judy Arroyo spoke to the leaders about alcohol and people of color. During this presentation, the leaders learned that alcohol affects people of different ethnicities in different ways.
The final presentation of the morning was given by Mr. Aaron White, who spoke about alcohol and adolescent development. All the information was extremely beneficial to the Leaders' mission of remaining drug and alcohol free, and spreading educational information about drugs and alcohol to their peers.
After the presentations, the Leaders made their way over to the National Library of Medicine. There, the Leaders were taken through a display of information on Global Health.
The leaders enjoyed lunch outside then broke into two groups; one group visited the animal research facility while other group enjoyed a demonstration of how the brain is affected by alcohol.
After the Leaders long day at the Institutes, it was back to the Embassy Suites to change into evening attire for a formal dinner. This would be the last meeting the New York and Kalamazoo Leaders would have together on the trip. The night was fun for each and every Leader and was a great way for the New York and Kalamazoo groups to say good bye until their next meeting.
After Howard, the Leaders set off to Georgetown University. This tour included seeing a beautiful Catholic church with stained glass windows. In its early days, Georgetown was one of the schools men could attend if they wanted to become a priest. The tour also included seeing the student center, dorms, classrooms, and the recreation center.
Next, the group had an opportunity to partake in some historic sightseeing adventures, including visiting the White House, the Washington Monument, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and the Lincoln Memorial. A favorite of many of the Leaders was the Lincoln Memorial-nothing could compare to seeing the huge statue of a man who changed history and helped set the slaves free.
At the end, the Leaders unanimously commented that they felt the trip was a truly wonderful, enriching experience.
For the six graduates, it was truly a blessing to be in the Jeter's Leaders program for four years. During a press conference before the Dinner, the graduates were given the opportunity to express their opinions on what the Jeter's Leaders program and the Turn 2 Foundation meant to them, as well as their feelings about Derek and his commitment to youth. Those few moments they had with Derek on the panel provided a forum to give their testimony of the program's positive effect on their lives.
When the event began, the Kalamazoo Leaders were joined by the graduating New York Leaders. They were overjoyed to be reunited one final time. Throughout the night, the Leaders got to experience the silent and live memorabilia auctions, mingled with celebrity guests and enjoyed a performance by Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds. The most thrilling moment of the night, however, was when the New York and Kalamazoo graduates were asked to take the stage and state their name and the university they would soon be attending. After each Leader announced their school, the audience congratulated them with a standing ovation. The recognition from the entire audience was a moment truly overwhelmed with pride for each of the graduates.
While in New York, the graduates were able to further enjoy themselves by doing some shopping at stores in Times Square and on Fifth Avenue. They also had the opportunity to tour Derek Jeter's brand new 24-Hour Fitness training facility. The Leaders decided to add a little indulgence to the trip by heading to Junior's Cheesecake Factory for dessert. "Oh Man! If you have ever had cheesecake, just wait until you have this stuff!" said one of the Kalamazoo graduates.
For all of the Leaders it was an experience they will never forget. The graduates look forward to continuing to carry out the program's mission as Jeter's Leaders Alumni members.
As the event started, everyone had time to mingle and greet their fellow Leaders and parents, while enjoying delicious punch and appetizers. This was a great opportunity to get to know the new Leaders.
As the night moved on, a wonderful formal dinner was served followed by a special presentation of the end of the year awards, and the graduation and induction ceremonies.
The group was honored to welcome the Mayor of Kalamazoo, Bobby Hopewell, as the special guest speaker of the evening. He shared his thoughts about leadership, ways of taking action, and reaching your goals.
The evening was made additionally festive with a DJ playing music for everyone to enjoy throughout the night. After the thought provoking speech, awards presentation, and ceremony, the night ended with guests dancing and mingling. The Jeter's Leaders 2009 Graduation/Induction Dinner was a truly memorable event for everyone involved!
The first school that the Leaders visited was Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The tour of Temple was guided by New York Jeter's Leader alumnus and Temple graduate, Mary, who was proud to show-off her alma mater. She highlighted the diversity of the school and the important role it plays in the culture of the school.
After Temple, the Leaders made their way to the University of Pennsylvania. Many of the Jeter's Leaders commented on the beauty of the campus as they approached the school. The tour at UPenn highlighted the history and vast course offerings of this Ivy League University.
Next, the group went to Ride the Ducks, a sightseeing tour on a bus/boat hybrid vehicle that shows Philadelphia's sites from a "ducks eye view." Riding the Ducks was a totally unique experience for the Leaders. The captain of the Leaders' duck, Betsy Ross, made sure that this was a fun and interactive experience. As soon as everyone boarded the bus/boat, they received a duck-quacking whistle which everyone got a big kick out of. As Betsy drove from the street into the water, the Leaders were amazed. They had never seen a bus float before. Betsy also challenged other tour guides by playing a "blasting game," where she would drive up to another boat and have everyone blow their whistles to make a loud quacking noise to see whose group was the loudest and most enthusiastic. Of course, no one could top Betsy and the Leaders!
After Rutgers, the Leaders were off to Princeton University, another Ivy League school and one of the most prestigious schools in the nation. The grounds were beautiful and many historic parts of the campus were highlighted.
After Pugsley's, the Leaders continued the tour with a visit to another prestigious Ivy League school, Columbia University. At Columbia, the Leaders were given an opportunity to mingle and talk with the students. A favorite part of this campus was the impressively immaculate Columbia library. The contrast of the intense quietness with its location in the heart of NYC was really striking.
The trip's final day began with a visit to the Turn 2 Foundation headquarters in Union Square. It was exciting for everyone to visit with the New York Foundation Staff and see where they do their work.
The group then headed to the South Street Seaport for a special treat. The Kalamazoo Leaders were met by the New York Leaders at Reds Restaurant for an informal group lunch.
The final event of the trip was a ride on the Circle Line Cruise to see the sights of Manhattan and Brooklyn from the city's surrounding rivers. The unquestionable highlight of the cruise was pulling up right next to the Statue of Liberty, which most of the Leaders had never seen before.
The long bus trip home gave the Leaders time to reflect on the colleges, cities, and other sites that they saw, as well as catch up on some much needed sleep! It was a truly great experience that none of them will soon forget!
On March 28, 2009, the Jeter's Leaders took a trip to Ann Arbor, Michigan to visit one of the state's most prestigious schools, the University of Michigan. The university is known for being a research institution and the admission requirements and coursework are demanding. The tour was led by Jeter's Leaders alumnus, Lexi, who is finishing her second year as a U of M student.
The tour was very informative with Lexi sharing many traditions and unique facts about the university. The Leaders enjoyed an overall tour of the huge campus, which included dorm rooms, cafeterias, classrooms, libraries, computer labs, and was highlighted by a visit to the "Big House," home field of the national powerhouse Michigan Wolverine football team. The Leaders were also especially impressed with the Law Library-part of Michigan's Law School, one of the most well-known and sought after law schools in the country. The most interesting aspect of the tour was seeing the wide variety of architecture on campus, from very modern to old style, traditional buildings. The tour concluded with a stop at the book store where just about everything one would need to survive dorm life could be purchased.
There are many times throughout the four-year program that the Jeter's Leaders meet new people and put their public-speaking skills to use. Being able to present oneself appropriately as a Jeter's Leader is a major goal for the entire group. No matter if they are new to the program or are experienced in a public setting, the Leaders always look for opportunities to learn new skills.
Mr. Patrick Conroy was invited to the Leaders' meeting on March 2, 2009, to give the group professional advice about public speaking and interaction. An instructor at Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Mr. Conroy teaches communication and public presentation skills to new and experienced speakers. While at the meeting, he shared many tips on interpersonal communication and taught the Leaders effective ways to greet someone new and how to carry on a conversation.
To begin the session, Mr. Conroy greeted each Leader individually by using his or her first name and shaking his or her hand. The Leaders were very impressed that he knew their names, as they had never met him before. He shared that he was able to do this because he had looked at the Turn 2 Foundation website before the meeting to familiarize himself with the names of all the Jeter's Leaders and mentioned how powerful the skill was. He confessed that he also listened as everyone in the group greeted each other as they walked in. A few games helped the Leaders gain new skills in public and private interactions. Mr. Conroy was the perfect example of a great communicator and he presented information in a way that was very helpful.
The Jeter's Leaders appreciated his time and his effective communication techniques. They know the skills they learned will not only be used while they are in the program, but in their future lives as young professionals.
There are so many things for high school students to consider when thinking about college. For example, finding the right major, the importance of getting involved in extracurricular activities, choosing a big school or small school, and whether or not you may want to consider schools that are far from home. As part of the Turn 2 Foundation's partnership with Summer Discovery, the Jeter's Leaders Program welcomed two guest speakers to host an informative session on college readiness and preparation. On Sunday, March 15, 2009 the Leaders and their families met with Bob Musiker of Summer Discovery and Rod Bugarin from ApplyWise. Summer Discovery is an organization that introduces high school students to college life through enriching fun experiences on campus during the summer. ApplyWise, a partner of Summer Discovery, is an organization that offers an online college admissions program.
Mr. Musiker and Mr. Bugarin discussed many crucial things that can be done in high school to increase chances of both college admission and financial help. Mr. Bugarin has served as an Admissions Officer at Columbia University and offered great tips on how to catch the interest of admission officers. He also spoke about financial aid. The most important thing to learn about is FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. As Mr. Bugarin told the group, "no FAFSA-no money!"
The presentation delivered an immense amount of vital information for the Leaders and their families. Everyone left with much more knowledge about the college admissions process and financing than they had before meeting.
On February 28, 2009, the Kalamazoo Jeter's Leaders participated in a community event called Walk for Warmth. This event is held every year to raise awareness and money for those in the Kalamazoo Community who are without heat in their homes.
The Jeter's Leaders recruited a number of their peers to take part in the event to help spread the word. Despite the cold windy weather, the Leaders, along with other organizations and individuals, walked three miles through downtown Kalamazoo. It was an impressive turnout and it was a great sight to see so many youth working to help build awareness of this important issue effecting members of their own community.
Current members of the Kalamazoo Jeter's Leaders Program and Jeter's Leaders Alumni came together for a night of bowling and activities at Airway Lanes on Feb. 21, 2009. Even though the weather was against them, the group met nonetheless and had a good time together. Some attendees enjoyed friendly competition on the lanes, while others rode on the bumper cars or played laser tag.
The current Leaders were excited to have another opportunity to spend time with the alumni, and the alumni were eager to continue to build their mentoring relationships with the current Leaders. With all of the students' busy schedules, it is difficult to host "an event" where everyone can attend, but it is well worth the effort for those who were able to participate. One Leader commented that he thought "this was a very fun event and a great way to see the alumni once again."
Sa-Niqua is recognized for her school and community participation, leadership qualities and personal growth. In addition to her involvement with the Boys & Girls Club, Sa-Niqua has been a Jeter's Leaders member for three years, where she has used the strength of both programs to build and shape herself. She has given back by acting as a role model and helping her peers as well as younger children. She has mentored children at the Boys & Girls Club using many of Derek Jeter's 10 Life Lessons, such as "Be Serious but Have Fun" and "Don't Be Afraid to Fail."
In reference to one of Derek's 10 Life Lessons -- Have a Strong Supporting Cast -- Sa-Niqua says, "Kids should be able to have friends that want their dreams to come true and want good for them. These are the kind of friends they need to be around to help them with their ups and downs. Positive people around you can help your dreams come true."
Sa-Niqua has defined life goals for herself, and she knows that the basis for these goals is academic achievement. School is extremely important to her and she always strives to do her best. She wants to graduate with grades that will gain her acceptance to the college of her choice where she can pursue her plan to become a financial advisor.
With Sa-Niqua's focus on taking initiative, responsibility and leading by example, she will turn her dreams into reality. We know Sa-Niqua will make us proud as she continues on her journey to becoming the 2009 Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year!
On Feb. 2, 2009, Deveta Gardner came to speak to the Kalamazoo Jeter's Leaders. Gardner is a Career Advisor at Western Michigan University (WMU) in the Career and Student Employment Services Department. She encouraged the Leaders to explore their strengths and consider their personalities and abilities when choosing a career path. She reminded them that a record of academic excellence indicates positive qualities to an employer of a prospective employee.
Ms. Gardner administered an on-line survey that suggests careers based on personal questions centered around interest, ability and work ethic. She often uses this tool when working with her college students at WMU. After the self-assessments, many of the Leaders were happy that the program had suggested careers that they were already planning to pursue, while some others were set in a different direction.
Ms. Gardner urged the students to continue to explore the vast array of career options and work hard to take steps towards their dream job. Many of the Leaders plan to visit Gardner at the Career and Student Employment Services Center to set their professional goals.
Danaequa is a person who embraces diversity. Living in a diverse community has allowed her to meet many people and understand the effects of racial injustice and the importance of creating equality. Danaequa's introspective and fair leadership style draws people to emulate her. She is an advocate of teamwork to bring different perspectives together and make positive changes.
Danaequa inspires social change in others by speaking and standing up for her beliefs. Through her continued commitment to community service, Danaequa has invested in making the world a better place.
When asked her opinion about improving the community, she answered, "I try to be a help to anyone that I can, in any way that I can. I would like for all kids to be a help to the community and the less fortunate than us. I say that because we need to be leaders to these children coming up behind our generation. There are already too many negative role models in this world and we don't need to add to the negativity. Therefore, I think that the little kids would join in the effort if they see us helping in the community and leading by example."
The Turn 2 Foundation and Jeter's Leaders Program are proud to work with such an exceptional young person. Danaequa is a role model and true leader of social change.
On January 20, 2009, the Douglass Community Association hosted an event at Charlie Foster's Restaurant in Kalamazoo, MI to celebrate the Inauguration of President Barack Obama. The Kalamazoo Jeter's Leaders were asked to volunteer as greeters. The leaders welcomed each guest with a smile as they walked into the celebration and directed them towards the main room.
The atmosphere was very friendly and festive. Throughout the evening, the Jeter's Leaders had a chance to mingle with the guests, introduce themselves, and to talk about the Jeter's Leaders Program. The leaders' participation illustrated to the community that they are involved young people who want to make a difference. The party guests encouraged all of the leaders to continue to work hard and pursue their goals.
The march began at Kanley Chapel on Western Michigan's campus. The participants followed a route past Kalamazoo College, through downtown Kalamazoo and ending at Martin Luther King Memorial Park. The march culminated with a short ceremony, prayer and a balloon release in the park. It was extremely cold but that didn't hamper the pride and enjoyment the Leaders felt by honoring Dr. King. After the march, there was a renewed feeling of respect for both Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and for our neighbors who were among the marchers. It was a lot of fun to be a part of this great cultural experience and an honor to celebrate a great man's legacy.
The event was just one of many mentoring opportunities for the Jeter's Leaders to serve as role models for the younger students of the Turn 2 Foundation programs. The football game was a great way to support the "home team" and show how the Turn 2 Foundation programs come together throughout the year. This activity, and others like it, has created a special friendship between the participants of the various Turn 2 programs in the Kalamazoo community.
Right before Thanksgiving, the Jeter's Leaders joined some of the Jeter's Leaders alumni to work with the local Loaves and Fishes organization. Loaves and Fishes operates in Kalamazoo to provide emergency food to those who do not have enough for their family. Many individuals and groups donate food that needs to be sorted and boxed. The Jeter's Leaders helped in the sorting process, and also by gift wrapping some items for other volunteers.
After volunteering at Loaves and Fishes, the Leaders and alumni members went to one of the best pizza places in town, Bimbos Pizza. We had a chance to watch football on the big screen TVs and just to talk and catch up. It was a good way to end a hard working, fun day.
On Nov. 22, 2008, the Jeter's Leaders traveled to East Lansing, Mich., to visit and tour Michigan State University. The Jeter's Leaders were greeted by three Jeter's Leaders alumni who currently attend MSU. The alumni led the tour and shared their personal experiences and tips on college life, which made the experience even more enjoyable and educational for the Leaders. This also gave the Leaders a chance to catch up and reminisce with the alumni.
Comments from a few of the Leaders who attended:
"I got my acceptance letter to MSU the day before, so the tour was really exciting for me. I saw parts of the campus I hadn't yet seen -- dorms where I might be living next year! It was also nice to see some of the alumni who are current MSU students; they did a great job with the tour." -- Ben
"The tour gave us a great chance to see some of the alumni. I might consider attending MSU because I was impressed with the diversity." -- Antonyo
"MSU has a beautiful campus. I am interested in a career in music and I liked hearing MSU's fight song played on the bells while we were on campus!" -- Dominique
"I liked the campus and seeing the football stadium -- home of the Spartans! We got to see the girls field hockey team practicing. It was fun to see alumni, who are now MSU students, and hear about their experiences as college students." -- Gavin
The Jeter's Leaders took part in a CPR training course in October 2008. They were taught the crucial skills of what to do in emergency situations. Ms. Tracy Hover and Ms. Terrie Godde, professional CPR instructors from Life EMS Services in Kalamazoo, administered the training. The Leaders were given instructions on how to perform the procedure and were then assigned to stations to practice. Ms. Hover and Ms. Godde also taught the Leaders how to execute the Heimlich maneuver which can help save people who are choking. This was a new experience for many of the Leaders. It is especially important for the Leaders to learn these skills as they will be working with younger children as mentors and some will also be working with children in their summer jobs and internships. The training was well organized, allowing the Leaders to learn this potentially life-saving procedure step-by-step.
On Sept. 6, 2008, the Kalamazoo Jeter's Leaders held a retreat to kick off the 2008-2009 program year. The retreat was held at the Sherman Lake YMCA Outdoor Center, in Augusta, Mich. This wonderful facility offers camping, meeting space and many indoor and outdoor activities.
The retreat was an opportunity for the Leaders to reflect on recent activities and evaluate the program as a whole. The Leaders reviewed and discussed the program's rules and expectations. Another topic covered was the appointment of newly elected officers and how new committees would be formed. The group spent a lot of time brainstorming ideas that they would like to see added to the program, as well as how some of the current activities could be expanded throughout the program. The Leaders shared many thoughts including additional speakers for the weekly meetings, college tours, mentoring activities, community service,\ and ideas for group fun.
After going over the rules and planning for the new program year, the Leaders headed out for some free bonding time. Sherman Lake YMCA offers swimming, basketball, a game room, a climbing wall, as well as a number of other great ways for the Leaders to spend time together. The weather cooperated, which made being together even more enjoyable.
On the recommendation of Western Michigan University's Lee Honor College, Sue Ryder, a licensed therapist, and her guest, were invited to be a guest speaker at the Jeter's Leaders weekly meeting on Sept. 15. Sue specializes in drug and alcohol abuse education and prevention. Last year, she was voted as one of the most interesting speakers by the freshman class at WMU.
Before diving into her prepared presentation, Sue asked for initial feedback from the Leaders on the effects of drugs and alcohol on people. After a number of thoughtful responses from the Leaders, Sue spoke candidly to the Leaders, telling them her life story as an alcoholic. She told us about her family history with alcoholism. She knew when she took her first drink that it was not a normal feeling and how this disease robbed her of at least 10 good years of her life. She has been sober now for 23 years and she is having more fun now than she ever did drinking.
Sue's guest, also a recovering alcoholic and drug addict, has been sober and drug-free for five years. She started drinking at the age of 14. After being pressured not to drink, she decided to stop, but she then turned to drugs. Both guests explained to the Leaders how addicting drugs and alcohol can be and the horrible effects they have on one's health. They applauded the Leaders' mission and reiterated that drugs are not the way to go and urged the Leaders to stick to their drug and alcohol-free lifestyle.