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Youth In Action

2010-11 Youth in Action Program Highlights »
2009-10 Youth in Action Program Highlights »

Youth In Action is an after-school enrichment program at Milwood Magnet Elementary School in Kalamazoo, Mich. Youth In Action was developed to help students manage the increased pressures they face to take part in unhealthy behaviors as they transition from elementary to high school. The program focuses heavily on educational enrichment and offers a life-lessons curriculum aimed at reinforcing healthy lifestyles and leadership. The program offers daily academic support as well as field trips, athletics and culinary activities. Youth In Action students also spend time planning and implementing mentoring activities for other local elementary school students.

2008-09 Program Highlights


Youth In Action continued with the Young Chefs Academy culinary arts program in January. The students love this activity and have learned a lot about cooking and teamwork since creating each dish is a group effort.

The participants also continued working on leadership development skills by focusing on weekly public-speaking workshops called Table Topics. In these activities, the director or the children come up with a topic about which each member must give a brief speech. Some of the Table Topics included, "Who is your favorite celebrity and why?", "Who in your life do you have a healthy relationship with and why is it healthy?", and "What are your New Year's resolutions?"

Throughout the month, the students continued mentoring the third grade children at Greenwood Elementary School. In one session, they played a game based on Derek's Life Lesson No. 7: "Be Serious, But Have Fun." The Kalamazoo Jeter's Leaders had taught this game to the Youth In Action students during one of their previous mentoring sessions. The third graders really enjoyed the game and spending time with their Youth In Action mentors as well!


December was an exciting month for Youth In Action. The students began a culinary program at the Young Chefs Academy, taking place each Tuesday through the end of the program year. The participants truly enjoyed this off-site activity!

December also brought Turn 2's Holiday Express to Kalamazoo's Air Zoo. The Youth In Action students had a fantastic time meeting the children of Turn 2's other Kalamazoo after school programs. They were also reunited with the evening's host, the Jeter's Leaders. The students had a great time exploring all of the aerospace rides and exhibits the Air Zoo had to offer. At the conclusion of the event, Santa gave each student a special backpack filled with goodies from Turn 2. The Holiday Express was greatly appreciated by Youth In Action participants!


This month was focused on making the Youth In Action program the student's "own." The directors feel that the program will be most effective when the participants feel a sense of ownership. The group devised their own list of leadership qualities that should be exhibited throughout the program. Some behaviors listed include: being respectful to staff and each other, fully participating in all activities, showing integrity and doing the right thing, and coming to the after-school program with a positive attitude. So far, the effect has been a positive one!

Mentoring at Greenwood Elementary continues to be a success. This month, the students played LEADERSHIP Bingo with the third graders. The concept for the game was created by Simone, an eighth grader at Youth In Action. Each YIA participant designed their own "BINGO" boards, but instead of the word "BINGO," they used "LEADERSHIP." Each time a number was drawn, such as "R 8," one student from YIA would stand up and give an example of a leadership quality that starts with "R," for example, responsibility. They would then share a personal example of when they did or did not take responsibility and the resulting consequence. The third graders would then be asked if they had anything they would like to share pertaining to that quality. It was a fun way to get everyone involved in thinking about what characteristics make a good leader.

The Jeter's Leaders also came to visit the YIA students a few times in November. The YIA students are learning many skills from their high-school mentors. They are looking forward to utilizing their new skills in their own sessions with the elementary students from Greenwood.

The 2008-2009 Youth In Action program began in October. The goals for the month: 1) Get to know one another; 2) understand the history, philosophy and expectations of the Turn 2 Foundation; 3) get to know the Jeter's Leaders -- the group's mentors; 4) get to know the group's mentees -- the Greenwood Elementary third graders; and 5) introduce leadership.

Many of the Youth In Action (YIA) students already knew each other from school or from Turn 2's Proud To Be Me program, but they still came up with creative questions to ask to get to know one another even better.

The YIA students met with the Kalamazoo Jeter's Leaders and discussed the expectations and rewards of the program as well as what it takes to become a Jeter's Leader. The leaders displayed great leadership skills and were extremely well received by the YIA students. Both groups look forward to each visit and are continuing to build upon their relationships.

The YIA students had a chance to put Turn 2's mentoring philosophies into practice when they met with the third graders at Greenwood Elementary. The students were able to reflect upon their time with the Jeter's Leaders and use their skills with the younger students. Feedback from the leaders after the mentoring activities helped the YIA students shape their plans for the next visit to Greenwood.

2010-11 Youth in Action Program Highlights »
2009-10 Youth in Action Program Highlights »

Since its launch in 1996, the Turn 2 Foundation has awarded more than $23 million to create and support signature programs that motivate young people to turn away from drugs and alcohol and "Turn 2" healthy lifestyles. Learn more »

Social Change Project
The Project is an event created to share one of the Foundation's principles with communities. Learn more »

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