By David Chiles
Executive Director, Providence Center ,Philadelphia, USA
Providence Center’s effort to develop youth leaders from one of Philadelphia’s most challenged neighborhoods continues to flourish. This past summer, Providence Center organized a Leadership Academy for high school students, helping these young people to grow as a team, to develop their leadership skills, and to explore issues that are impacting their community. Through this program, the Academy’s participants train to be Teen Leaders for Providence Center’s after school program. The teenagers serve as role models and tutors for the children.
Sam is getting ready to start her second year as a Teen Leader. In her short time, she has had a tremendous impact on after school program and the children she mentors. “I want to be a Teen Leader,” Sam explains, “because I want to show the young people that everything in life is not easy, but you still can believe in yourself and do anything.” Sam has certainly found that working with children isn’t easy, but she has developed strong relationships with the kids she tutors, and she has excelled at connecting with kids even on their difficult days. “I’ve learned that they will give you a hard time,” she says, “but once you try talking to them, they may change their ways. I really care. What affects them also affects me. I love them.”
Sam will graduate from high school this year and she’s exploring her college options. “As a Teen Leader I have changed a lot; my attitude, my professionalism. After high school I want to go to college for education to help many more students.”
Providence Center is a sponsored ministry of the Society of Holy Child Jesus.