Young Governors

"Empowering communities by empowering youth."

The Community Organization Training Encourages Teenagers to Step out of Their Comfort Zones

Posted by Young Governors on January 26, 2014 at 10:15 PM

The Young Governors Program has added new elements to the one-month training, making it more active, interesting and beneficial to the teenagers. Participating in both 2013 and 2014, a junior in high school commented in surprise, “They change it so differently.”


Last year, while the prospective Young Governors merely sat in one room to receive the training, the 2014 agenda gives participants more hands-on opportunities. Divided into two groups, they come up with problem-statements, do research about Elmhurst Community and will implement their actual projects. Under the careful instructions from the veterans, two groups went out to do community assessment in the icy weather, asking the local residents for their input. “We want you to get out of your comfort zones,” said Delia, director of the program, to the group of youths.


Before discussing about their own projects, the participants had an interesting conversation about the saying, “Give a man a fish, he will eat for a day; teach him how to fish and he will live for a lifetime.” Under the warm yellow light in the Upper Stage Room of New Life Fellowship Church, the teenagers expressed their opinions in confidence and energetically added on to what each other said. The atmosphere was incredibly comforting; some cracked jokes and people burst into laughter. Furthermore, the youths proved to have wide knowledge about local and national issues though the discussion.


After joining for three weeks, Giselle Arnez, a high school junior said that she “personally love working with other people, see a wider range of opportunities and feel like a leader.” The same excitement brightened Ameera Samiha’s face when being asked about the program. She, currently a freshman, stated that she felt more confident thanks to the training, “I get to speak more. Usually I am shy and quiet.”


On January 24, Celia Castellan, a community organizer from Transportation Alternatives also paid a visit to the Young Governors training as an observer and speaker. Elaborating about her organization, she said that her group fought for safer streets, advocated bicycling, walking and public transit. Ms. Castellan, after witnessing the training, commented, “This is phenomenal,” and emphasized the importance of having a group like this in the community.


Annie Wang, the Administrator for the Young Governors program, said that there were currently twenty eight participants in the training. Being inquired about the diversity of the group, she answered, “Race-wide, not really. School-wide, yes.”






Categories: Training

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