The Youth Leadership Program (YLP) at Casa Youth Shelter is working to make a difference in the lives of teens throughout our community. Every Monday the program meets to discuss and educate high school students on issues that teens in crisis face everyday. I’ve had the pleasure of attending Youth Leadership meetings to discuss topics included and not limited to mental health issues, LGBTQ+ awareness, and drug use. If teens in crisis are in trouble, they are more likely to go to a friend for help rather than an adult.
Adam George, co-president of the program says “So if high school students are trained and educated on these topics, we will be able to use our knowledge to help a friend in crisis whatever way we can.”
Casa Youth Shelter provides temporary shelter, counseling, and any other services depending on the residents needs. Not only does Casa raise awareness for at-risk teens throughout the county, but allows high school students attending YLP to gain valuable leadership skills while serving their community in a great way. George says “At our weekly Monday meetings, everyone gets a chance to speak their mind which is great for increasing confidence and speaking skills. We do this during the introductions portion of our meeting and during Sunshine and Rain, a game where everyone says a high and low point of their week.”
Students attending YLP also have the opportunity to interview and become board members. During the interview process, teens get to experience the environment of what a real job interview is truly like, and apply it when they go out in the world. Students leave the program with an array of invaluable life skills, career skills, and unbreakable friendships.
“What I love most about working at the shelter is that you get to become friends with people from all over,” says George. “We’ve all come together here at YLP and are able to not only impact our community, but become closer friends.”
If you are a high school student interested in joining the Youth Leadership Program, contact outreach director Jennifer Santos at firstname.lastname@example.org.