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Kalamazoo Jeter's Leaders

Lakeside Academy Open House Meet & Greet
Contributions from Jeter's Leaders Spencer, Alex and Antonyo
June 2012

On Wednesday, June 27, 2012, the Kalamazoo Jeter's Leaders visited Lakeside Academy to follow up on their visit during the holiday season. Lakeside Academy is a Sequel Youth and Family Services program that focuses on the confrontation and redirection of negative behavior while recognizing desired, positive behavior.

To start the day, the Lakeside Academy Titans performed original spoken word for the Leaders and took the Leaders on a tour of the campus. The tour showed the Leaders the residence halls, the classrooms and the auditorium. While on the tour, the youth explained a typical day living at Lakeside Academy. They discussed their class schedule, living in a residence hall with other teenagers and their goals for when they graduate from Lakeside.

After the tour, it was lunch time. The Lakeside Academy staff prepared grilled burgers and hot dogs, fresh fruit and cookies for the Leaders and youth. During lunch, the Leaders and the youth had a chance to continue their conversations about life at Lakeside and life as a Jeter's Leader.

Once everyone had eaten lunch, the Lakeside Academy staff led the students to a shaded outdoor area to wrap up the day and discuss ways the teens can continue to work together. Some of the ideas included the Titans' visiting the Leaders at Western Michigan University for a college tour, working on a community service project together and attending a Jeter's Leaders Leadership Conference. The Jeter's Leaders and the Lakeside Academy youth are hoping to continue sharing ideas and working together in the Kalamazoo community.

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Kalamazoo Jeter's Leaders Annual Banquet
Contributions from Antonyo and Aimee, Jeter's Leaders member since 2008
June 2012

This year's Kalamazoo Jeter's Leaders Annual Banquet took place on Thursday, June 14, 2012, at the Western Michigan University's Bernhard Center. The Annual Banquet is the graduation ceremony for the Jeter's Leaders who have completed their high school careers and are moving on to the next level. The Annual Banquet also serves as the induction ceremony for the new class of Jeter's Leaders who will enter high school in the fall. The Leaders also receive individual awards recognizing their hard work and excellence in different areas such as academics, community service, role modeling and leadership. This event is a favorite among parents because they get to celebrate the success and hard work of their children.

At each Annual Banquet, the Leaders invite a keynote speaker. This year the keynote speaker was Timasha Woods, Jeter's Leaders Class of 2003. Woods remained in contact with the staff and Leaders and was happy to accept the initiation. Ms. Woods' message was to stay involved with Jeter's Leaders and one's community, wherever life may take you. She stressed that giving back made her remember the great times she had as a Jeter's Leader and reminded her to reach back to the program that helped develop her leadership skills. Ms. Woods also encouraged the Leaders to build positive relationships with the people in their lives and to be a positive person. Another message she delivered was to take advantage of all the opportunities available to the Leaders now, because they are once in a lifetime opportunities.

The recent graduates also had an opportunity to address the current Leaders and recent inductees. Each graduate shared their favorite moment or event in the program and left all of the Leaders with some words of advice. Some of the advice was to surround oneself with positive, supportive people; stay involved throughout all four years of high school; and take advantage of every opportunity the program offers.

To end, each graduating senior was presented with his or her earned stipend of $3,000, which awards the students for their four years of hard work. Afterward all of the current Leaders and new alumni had a chance to welcome the new freshman Jeter's Leaders inductees into the program. At the end of the evening, there were a lot of hugs but not goodbyes because the new Leaders and graduates would be spending the summer with the program preparing for the Washington, D.C., Service Project.

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Spring Into College Tour
April 2012

In April 2012, the Kalamazoo Jeter's Leaders traveled to the West Coast for their annual Spring Into College Tour. They visited Occidental College, University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA), Loyola Marymount and University of Southern California (USC). In between college tours, the Leaders visited the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Griffith Observatory, and Venice Beach.

While at Occidental College, the Leaders learned that President Barack Obama was enrolled at the school during his undergraduate years. The Leaders were impressed by the beautiful campus, as well as the wall dedicated to the President outside the library. At UCLA, the Leaders were able to learn about the school from three UCLA students who also gave them a special tour at the renowned University's Athletic Hall of Fame.

A major highlight of the trip was an exclusive tour of Creative Artists Agency (CAA). At CAA, the Leaders were able to meet with several agents who represent some of the most successful entertainers and athletes. They took part in a panel discussion and learned about the life of agents in the industry. The visit not only allowed the Leaders to see one of the top agencies in the world, but also opened their eyes to a new career.

Overall it was a great trip for the Leaders, as they were able to learn about new schools, new careers and also enjoyed the sights and weather of California. After the trip many Leaders were eagerly looking forward to applying to these schools in the near future.

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Jeter's Leaders Spotlight

The Jeter's Leaders are a select group of high school students from Greater Kalamazoo and New York City who are committed to leading a healthy lifestyle. The Leaders are ambassadors to Derek and carry out the Turn 2 Foundation's mission of supporting and promoting healthy lifestyles for today's youth. Members are dedicated to staying drug and alcohol free. They participate in community events, attain high academic marks and are devoted to setting examples for younger students. Over the past year, two outstanding Kalamazoo Jeter's Leaders have displayed exceptional and consistent leadership qualities. Each has exhibited a positive attitude under adversity, morality when making decisions, and stood up to challenges when needed. Their outstanding leadership qualities have also been recognized by their peers and consequently, they have all been named to leadership positions within the Kalamazoo Jeter's Leaders Program. The Turn 2 Foundation is proud to recognize the following Jeter's Leaders, J'Nairo and Tracy, and thank them for their hard work and dedication as positive youth leaders.

J'Nairo, Class of 2012
J'Nairo, a senior at Kalamazoo Central High School, has always been a student who leads by example and works to do the right thing. The Jeter's Leaders program has helped J'Nairo build upon the leadership skills he already had, making him a better, stronger leader. J'Nairo credits the skills that he's learned in the Jeter's Leaders program to helping him step up and join other leadership groups in the community, including Charitable Union in Battle Creek, Mch., and Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA). FCCLA is a U.S. career and technical student organization for young men and women in family and consumer science education. This year, J'Nairo was elected vice president of the Jeter's Leaders program, confirming that his peers also see him as a leader and role model. The Life Lesson that helps him in his role as vice president is, 'Don't be afraid to fail.' J'Nairo states that, "If you're afraid to fail, it holds you back from trying new things and stops you from getting the opportunities that are out there for you."

Tracy, Class of 2012
As 2011-12 Kalamazoo Jeter's Leaders president, Tracy, a senior at Loy Norrix High School, continues to provide consistent leadership within the program as she has since being inducted in 2008. Tracy wanted to become a Jeter's Leader to help her peers make better decisions and have an impact in her community with other leaders who also want to have a positive impact. The Jeter's Leaders program has helped her become more culturally aware of her surroundings, and she also has gained more confidence in herself and what she says. The most beneficial activities for Tracy have been mentoring and community service because she enjoys the hands-on, face-to-face interactions with people who need help and want more out of life. Outside of Jeter's Leaders, Tracy has also dedicated her time to Peace Jam and Ignite Mentoring. Tracy is committed to giving others motivation by telling them there is more to life than what you see every day.

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Jeter's Leaders visit University of Notre Dame
November 2011

The Kalamazoo Jeter's Leaders visited the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., on Friday, Nov. 4, 2011. The group had been looking forward to the trip for quite awhile. Once the day arrived, they were all very excited to finally be making the visit!

After arriving on campus, the Leaders met their tour guides and started the tour at the famous Golden Dome, also called the Main Building. The guides took the group through the campus student center where they were able to get a real feel for the energy on the campus. The guides then led the Leaders through one of the major classroom buildings and a technology science lab. After touring the buildings, the Leaders made their way across the quad, past the library, past the amazing football stadium, and by "Touchdown Jesus", a nickname given to the large mural entitled "The Word of Life" by Millard Sheets of the resurrected Jesus. The mural was installed in 1964 on the Hesburgh Library and looms over the stadium mirroring the raised arms of a referee signifying a touchdown. To wrap up the walking tour, the guides showed the Leaders the residence halls where they could potentially be living.

After lunch at the dining hall, the Leaders made their way back to the Main Building for an information session. During the presentation, the Leaders viewed a video that highlighted different Notre Dame students who shared their amazing views and stories about their school. After the video, an admissions representative talked about his experience at Notre Dame and why he chose the university for undergraduate and graduate studies. He also took the time to answer questions the Leaders had about applying to Notre Dame and financing their education.

Before heading back to Kalamazoo, the Leaders visited the College Football Hall of Fame in Downtown South Bend. The Hall of Fame was full of exhibits that demonstrated the entire history of college football. The Leaders watched videos about the evolution of collegiate football and participated in football skills tests. They kicked field goals, went head-to-head with tackle dummies, threw touchdown passes to receivers, tested their vertical leaps and performed agility drills.

All of the Leaders enjoyed visiting the University of Notre Dame, which they saw first-hand was an institution steeped in tradition. They were also thankful to have visited the College Football Hall of Fame before it moves to Atlanta in 2013. The entire trip proved to be an amazing experience for the Leaders!

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Jeter's Leaders join mentees on field trip
October 2011

One of the most important components of the Jeter's Leaders program is the mentoring initiative. Through the mentoring sessions, the Leaders deliver positive messages to younger students in Turn 2's Signature After-School Programs. The Kalamazoo Leaders visit each of the three after-school sites in Michigan (Extra Innings at Derek's Dugout, Proud 2 Be Me-Washington and Youth In Action) to help teach Derek Jeter's 10 Life Lessons, participate in their daily activities and join them on fun excursions. Through their sessions, they focus on delivering encouraging messages and building strong relationships, while serving as positive teen role models.

This past October the Jeter's Leaders joined their Proud 2 Be Me-Washington mentees on a trip to Nottawa Fruit Farm in Sturgis, Mich. Upon arrival everyone was welcomed with donuts and apples before gearing up to participate in the many activities the farm offers. After the snack, the group set out for their first activity -- a human hamster wheel! The younger students stepped into the large wheel while the Jeter's Leaders helped them roll across the field. The activity was a great ice breaker and gave them a unique learning opportunity about trust. The next activity, the catapult challenge, let the students load up water balloons onto the slingshot while they aimed to knock down pumpkins that were set up yards away. The Leaders assisted the youth with putting up their water balloons and aiming techniques. The two activities were a great way to start the day!

Winners of the catapult challenge received goofy Halloween glasses as prizes, complete with eyebrows, a nose and a mustache. After a lot of laughter and funny faces, they moved into the barn to warm up and explore the tunnels made of straw. Even with the flashlights, the Leaders saw that the children were having difficulty navigating through the tunnels so they teamed up with their mentees to help them find their way! With the help of the Leaders, the children easily managed through the tunnels and even discovered several different routes within. They were surprised by how far they could venture!

The last activity was a fun hay ride and tour of the farm where they were able to see all the growing fruits and vegetables. Halfway through the ride, the group made a pit stop to run through the sorghum fields. Afterward they got back on to ride and headed to their final destination, a pumpkin patch. When they got off the wagon, the participants were told that everyone would be allowed to choose their own pumpkin to take home, as long as they followed one rule: They had to be able to carry it themselves! This proved to be a challenge for some kids who chose pumpkins twice their size!

On the bus ride back to Kalamazoo the students talked about the fun activities they participated in and how important it was to work together and as a team. The trip was a great way to kick off a fun-filled year of mentoring!

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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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