Teens in Motion

by Sarah Buchlaw | Mar 22, 2012
| 1 Comment

Summary:

I propose a program for teenagers. The main goals would be to educate this group of young adults on cultures and religions beyond their own, and to give them the opportunity to work with other teens to help the community.

Once a month, teens in the program will take a bus to a place of worship. Temples, synagogues, mosques, churches, and other places of worship would take turns hosting an event to educate teens about their faith, talk about relevant current events, and/or organize a team-building activity. At each event, there would also be time set aside to discuss ideas for a large community-building project.

Once a month, the “Teens in Motion” group will participate in the community service project they had decided on at their previous meeting. Projects may include helping at a soup kitchen, food shelf, homeless shelter, daycare, or animal shelter. Projects independent from an existing organization may include picking up trash, doing yardwork, or planting a garden.

At the end of each year, participants will graduate, receiving a certificate of accomplishment at a party to celebrate their year of learning, serving, and building new friendships.

We will perform outreach to places of worship, cultural and community centers, and youth organizations throughout the greater Twin Cities. Depending on the number of people who sign up, we may have more than one Teens in Motion team, though various teams may choose to come together for specific activities and the final celebration. We will involve diverse faith groups to take part. A volunteer service organization, such as NYLC or Justice Squared, might be a good organizer for the program.

Teens in Motion will give teens an opportunity to become more aware of the diversity in our state, educate themselves on cultures and faiths they otherwise would not have the opportunity to learn about, build relationships with teens of different backgrounds, and help out their community, all while having a great time.

About You

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About You

First Name

Sarah

Last Name

Buchlaw

Country

United States, MN, Hennepin County

City

Bloomington

Innovation

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Title

Teens in Motion: Working together across faiths and cultures for a better community

What is your best idea to build bonds and work together across cultures and faiths in your community?

I propose a program for teenagers. The main goals would be to educate this group of young adults on cultures and religions beyond their own, and to give them the opportunity to work with other teens to help the community.
Once a month, teens in the program will take a bus to a place of worship. Temples, synagogues, mosques, churches, and other places of worship would take turns hosting an event to educate teens about their faith, talk about relevant current events, and/or organize a team-building activity. At each event, there would also be time set aside to discuss ideas for a large community-building project.
Once a month, the “Teens in Motion” group will participate in the community service project they had decided on at their previous meeting. Projects may include helping at a soup kitchen, food shelf, homeless shelter, daycare, or animal shelter. Projects independent from an existing organization may include picking up trash, doing yardwork, or planting a garden.
At the end of each year, participants will graduate, receiving a certificate of accomplishment at a party to celebrate their year of learning, serving, and building new friendships.
We will perform outreach to places of worship, cultural and community centers, and youth organizations throughout the greater Twin Cities. Depending on the number of people who sign up, we may have more than one Teens in Motion team, though various teams may choose to come together for specific activities and the final celebration. We will involve diverse faith groups to take part. A volunteer service organization, such as NYLC or Justice Squared, might be a good organizer for the program.
Teens in Motion will give teens an opportunity to become more aware of the diversity in our state, educate themselves on cultures and faiths they otherwise would not have the opportunity to learn about, build relationships with teens of different backgrounds, and help out their community, all while having a great time.

Impact and Sustainability

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How will your idea have a positive impact on your community?

I am 14 years old. I love taking part in youth group activities at my synagogue, especially those involving social justice and community service. As enjoyable as those experiences are, it would be even more meaningful to be a part of a larger, more diverse group of teens. Since most youth groups are run by specific congregations, there are very few opportunities for teens to bond with people our own age but from different backgrounds and religions. We tend to learn mainly about our own religions, but not build deep knowledge or understanding of other beliefs.

Teens in Motion will make a dramatic impact on the young people involved. Each Teens in Motion group will include up to 50 participants from different backgrounds, age 12-18, who will have a chance to meet and learn together. The participants will build deeper personal understandings of faiths and cultures. Together, they will become an informed team of young people who know how to help their communities and are excited to do so.

In the long term, the impact on participants and their families will be extensive. Research shows that the benefits to teens of participating in high-quality service-learning include greater community involvement, increased sense of self-efficacy, new and valuable partnerships and resources, higher academic achievement, enhanced problem-solving skills, and greater civic engagement attitudes (Roehlkepartain, Search Institute, 12/07).

Teens in Motion will also benefit numerous people in local communities. One open-minded and informed young person in a community, one conversation or action at a time, can lead to greater awareness and change for many. In addition, communities will benefit directly from the service activities the teens perform and also from seeing that those doing the work are a team of multicultural multi-faith teens. Teens in Motion will bring and encourage diversity.

What do you think the lasting effect will be if your idea is implemented?

Program funds will be used for publicity and outreach; buses (twice a month per group x $ 400 = $ 800/month, with busses accommodating up to 50 people); coordinators; work materials (such as work gloves and trash bags); snacks; and the graduation. Some funds will also be set aside as seed money to initiate the following year’s program and gain donations.

Teens in Motion involves faith groups and communities in the program. In future years, the satisfaction of taking part and the successful outcomes will lead organizations to continue their involvement and will encourage new ones to join. Some of the program cost will be taken on by the faith groups and cultural centers as in-kind expenses, since they will plan a day’s activities and possibly provide refreshments, and since they will also provide volunteer team leaders. Youth organizations will also step forward to donate time and service opportunities, once the program is established and organized.

This program can be replicated both within and outside Minnesota.

It is easy to expand Teens in Motion over time, because new teams can always be added in different parts of the Twin Cities and also outstate Minnesota. With expansion comes sustainability, because the more people involved, the more resources will be available to fund and fuel the program. For example, if people from the Minneapolis American Indian Center or Mt. Olivet get involved, those organizations are likely to host events, provide coordinators, or publicize, at least within their communities. More and more people will learn about, participate in, and support this important teen program and help it continue to impact hundreds or maybe even thousands of people.

Martina Yusay said: I like your proposal because it's more on values from a teenager. Even if your not winning just push this proposal maybe it will be ... about this Competition Entry. - 2086 days ago read more >

Sarah Buchlaw updated this Competition Entry. - 2600 days ago

Sarah Buchlaw updated this Competition Entry. - 2615 days ago

Sarah Buchlaw submitted this idea. - 2615 days ago