Highlighting Youth Voices In Their Own Words
Age: 17, Senior
Favorite Book: Push
Subjects I Want to Learn More About: Science
Most Important Quality in a Teen Leader: Positive Energy
I always try to have a positive attitude when I come to the READ Program. The kids brighten up my day—when you see their faces, they’re so energetic, so I try to show that same energy too. You want them to take that same positive energy into reading. So I always greet the kids with a big smile, and I tell the Teen Leaders to make reading sound as good as pizza. Because everybody likes pizza!
Patience Is Key
As a Teen Leader, patience is really key. Sometimes the kids get frustrated with themselves, and then you get frustrated because you know they can do it, and you feel like you might be doing something wrong. So you have to have patience with the kids and with yourself. I’ve learned to take everything step by step and always keep trying again because it’s so rewarding to help others and to know I’m serving my community.
As a Senior Teen Leader, you have to engage with a whole classroom of students and you’re also there to guide the other Teen Leaders. It’s a lot of responsibility and it was a challenge at first to figure out a balance. We’re all the same age, so I don’t want anyone to feel like I’m overstepping. I try to let them know yeah, I’m kind of your boss, but if you need me I’m here. I feel like it’s my job to make everyone, the kids and the other teens, feel welcome.
Each READ Program site employs over 20 local Teen Leaders to provide individualized support and encouragement to their younger peers. Your donation to Read Alliance makes these transformational relationships possible.