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On July 28, 2008, the Western Michigan University's women's volleyball team joined the Kalamazoo Jeter's Leaders for their weekly meeting. In preparation for the upcoming 2008 Jeter's Leaders Youth Leadership Conference in Arlington, Texas, the Leaders had the special opportunity to present their workshop topics to the WMU Volleyball team. The Teens and Media workshop group presented first, and their presentation, which focused on music, internet and popular culture views of gender and youth, sparked a very lively discussion between the Leaders and the team.
After the remaining seven workshop groups from the Jeter's Leaders had a chance to present their workshops, the Bronco volleyball team took some time to share their experiences of playing in Brazil. Not only did the team members have an amazing time playing the sport they love, they were also able to experience the people and culture of Brazil. The team showed the Leaders pictures from their trip and told them stories of how they would trade clothing with the Brazilian teams. The Jeter's Leaders are planning to attend some of the WMU Women's Volleyball matches this fall.
On July 9, 2008, the Kalamazoo Jeter's Leaders invited a group of students from Iraq who were being hosted by Western Michigan University's Colleagues International program to join them at their weekly leadership meeting. The Iraqi students had flown over 15 hours from their native country to the United States.
The group also played a few icebreakers. The one game that everyone enjoyed the most was called "Two Truths and a Lie". Not only did the Leaders get to know some the students from Iraq better, they also had a chance to interact with the newly inducted 2008 Jeter's Leaders. All of the students felt that the time the two groups had to spend with each other went by very fast and many didn't want it to end. The Jeter's Leaders gained new friends during the short time the groups had together and they hope to keep in touch with all of the Iraqi students.
Here's what the Leaders had to say:
"The college tour was an amazing experience for me as a freshman in high school; I had a lot of fun visiting all of the colleges." -- Jeremiah
"I love the University of Florida. It's my favorite college ever." -- Zach
"Florida A&M University was good in my book, because I love Historically Black Colleges and Universities." -- Daviair
"All the colleges were fun to tour. I got some wonderful information from all of them." -- Rasheena
"My overall impression of the college tour was wonderful, and it was a great experience. I liked being on the road sightseeing." -- Erika
"My overall impression of the Florida college tour was great. I also loved the road trip to Florida." -- Maria
"I love the Southern Hospitality that they provided. I love learning about our own culture." -- Clifford
On February 28, 2008, the Kalamazoo Jeter's Leaders took part in a mentoring activity with the Turn 2 After School program, Three Rivers Area Mentoring -- Extra Inning at Derek's Dugout, also known as T.R.A.M. The children of T.R.A.M. were more-than-excited as the Leaders arrived!
"Mentoring with T.R.A.M. has shown me that those students are the next generation of young role models and they need the guidance to achieve their goals," said Daviair. "As role models we must show them the right path."
The next trip to T.R.A.M. was on March 27th, where the Jeter's Leaders took the time to elaborate on Derek's book, The Life You Imagine. In the book, Derek writes about his life lessons for achieving your dreams. "Being serious but still having fun" is one of the life lessons, and that is exactly what the Jeter's Leaders did when they visited the Three Rivers Area Mentoring Program.
After the games, the kids sat down to speak with the Leaders. "I was thinking maybe there is a soft spot in these kids! This experience was W-O-W: wonderful, outstanding and worthwhile," said Sa-Niqua. "I picked these three words because the kids were wonderful. It was very outstanding to see them have fun and it was worth it to spend time with these kids in the TRAM program!"
Kalamazoo's Empty Bowls Celebration
By Jamila, Jeter's Leaders Member since 2006
This marks the second year that the Kalamazoo community has sponsored the Empty Bowls Project. This event is put on to raise money for local food banks and to build awareness about people in the Kalamazoo community who do not have enough to eat. Community members volunteer to make pottery bowls for the project. Restaurants then donate soup and bread for a fundraising soup dinner, where people purchase one of the pottery bowls to take home.
At the actual Empty Bowls Project, the Jeter's Leaders helped by pouring water and serving bread and soup to those who attended the event. Afterwards, they were then able to pick out their own bowls, which were professionally made by community artists. The whole event was definitely a success and everyone had an amazing time!
On Saturday, January 19, 2008, the Kalamazoo Jeter's Leaders went to the winter recreation center, Echo Valley.
When the Leaders finally tired out and were freezing from the fun, they were able to go to the lodge and drink hot chocolate to rest and warm themselves up.
"It was awesome! It was even greater to be around each other and just chill and have lots of fun together, enjoying each other's company. I loved Echo Valley and would love to go back any time, with the right gloves and boots."
The Kalamazoo Jeter's Leaders had an exciting, action packed week-end on December 14 and 15, 2007.
First, the Leaders helped plan and execute the Kalamazoo Turn 2 Holiday Express, a holiday party for over 300 children created by Derek Jeter's Turn 2 Foundation to reward children involved in Turn 2's Signature Programs. The Leaders help set up a special holiday carnival night at the Douglass Community Association in Kalamazoo, MI on Friday, December 14. They greeted the children and escorted them down the red carpet to the entrance of the building. The leaders served as mentors and role models helping implement the carnival games, serving food to the participants and as elves, coordinating a surprise visit from Derek and Santa who gave special holiday gift bags to everyone.
On Saturday, December 15, 2007, the Kalamazoo Jeter's Leaders and their families attended a luncheon at the Radisson Hotel & Suites in Kalamazoo. The Jeter's Leaders program staff along with Derek Jeter and his family addressed and ate with the entire group to discuss the state of the program and future initiatives. Following lunch, the group was broken up, as parents and guardians stayed to have a discussion with the program staff along with Dr. and Mrs. Jeter, and the Leaders themselves had a private meeting with Derek to discuss the program and to hear first hand from Derek his goals and expectations for each of them. The event and meetings were a huge success with a lot of important questions asked and answered, as well as positive and enthusiastic discussion.
Town Hall Meeting and Healthy Relationships Workshop
"Town Hall Meeting" with Law Enforcement Officials
Youth violence and police/community relations have often been identified by the Jeter's Leaders as issues of concern to them as well as other teens. Upon the suggestion of the Leaders and with the help of the Kalamazoo City Manager's office, a "town hall meeting" with police officers and the Jeter's Leaders was held. Five police officers met with the Jeter's Leaders at the Kalamazoo Chamber of Commerce. There was open and lively discussion about the work of the officers, their role as protectors in the community, how individuals can help them, opportunities to learn more about public safety and how to prepare for a career in law enforcement. It was an effective question and answer session for all parties involved. It was also a great way for the students to get to know the police officers as individuals.
Healthy Relationships Workshop
Recently, the Jeter's Leaders in West Michigan were fortunate to be able to hear a presentation on healthy relationships, dating and domestic violence. The Turn 2 Foundation arranged for staff members and experts from the Office of the Mayor of the New York City's Office to Combat Domestic Violence to travel to Kalamazoo to present the workshop. The students participated in an interactive workshop where they were asked to communicate and role play. This was an extraordinary program in which all of the Leaders came away with great information and new perspectives about healthy lifestyle choices, healthy relationships, role modeling, responsibility, communication and taking initiative. They were given crucial information on how to help a friend or loved one in a vulnerable situation.
On November 19, 2007, the Kalamazoo Jeter's Leaders joined Chef Wayne Wells in the kitchen of the Radisson Hotel & Suites in Kalamazoo, Michigan to take part in a workshop on nutrition.
The Jeter's Leaders each made a dessert for another Jeter's Leader to eat after dinner. After creating desserts, Chef Wells gave the Jeter's Leaders a lesson in making a nutritious salad with the assistance of Daviair, a junior in the Jeter's Leaders program, which was served with a Chicken Alfredo dish and dinner rolls.
After this workshop, Jeter's Leaders expressed how much they enjoyed the Radisson with Chef Wells. The workshop reinforced part of the Jeter's Leaders' mission, to live a healthy lifestyle, and Chef Wells told the Jeter's Leaders what it takes to make it in the culinary industry. Chef Wells advised the Jeter's Leaders to continue to work hard and take advantage of the opportunities that are given. He expressed that a Chef can make a pretty good living and there is a need for young, talented chefs in the industry.
On October 27, 2007, Jeter's Leaders teamed up with Youth United Way to host a Haunted Halloween Trail. Our trail was part of a family event for the community hosted by the Kalamazoo Parks and Recreation Department.
The Jeter's Leaders had a blast doing various jobs throughout the evening. Some of these jobs include handing out candy, scaring the participants, and making decorations for our trail.
This project was a success and proved that the Jeter's Leaders can work with other organizations and accomplish our goal, which in this case was to make the night unforgettable for the kids.
Kalamazoo Jeter's Leaders Fall Retreat
Katie, Jeters Leaders Member since 2007, reflects:
"When we first got there, we were in our little groups with the people we knew. By the end of the day everyone was interacting and making new friends. One good thing about this retreat was that not everyone goes to the same school and we had time to spend with each other.
As a part of the day, we did a ropes course. We all had to work together to make sure no one fell; it made us trust each other so much more. This is a very important thing. The new Jeter's Leaders were very involved on their first trip with the program and since I was one of them, I would say it was a very good experience. Most people just wanted to hang out once they got to know each other and felt comfortable. The retreat was well planned and should be a part of the program every year.
The Sherman Lake Retreat was a blast! The Jeter's Leaders got to know a lot more about each other. We really clicked and played some really fun strategy games. Jeter's Leaders also taught some games they had learned in other groups.
I personally really liked this retreat because it made me feel a lot more comfortable with the people in the program. If I could do this again, I would do it over and over because it was tons of fun! The Jeter's Leaders program is great and I'm happy to be a part of it because I get to do amazing events like the Sherman Lake Retreat."