Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Spotlight on.... TEEN ACTION!

Every Wednesday students enthusiastically gather to discuss issues that concern them and ways that they can serve the community. Then, to complete the process of service learning, the students go into the community and address the issues that they discussed. These trips often take place on Saturday mornings or Mondays after school.

The club was created by and is led by college students from American University and George Washington University. One of the co-leaders this year is Tim Hoagland. Tim is a senior at American University and his infectious energy inspires TMA students to perform their community service with a true sense of purpose. I conducted the following interview with Tim over e-mail.
Brita Gall: Please describe the mission/goal of the Teen Action Program.
Tim Hoagland: Teen Action is actually a program that DC Today DC Tomorrow runs; they are an organization based on both George Washington and American University's campuses that attempts to foster leadership in youth through service learning, as well as to inspire them to become agents of social change. Teen Action is our leadership and reflection meeting once a week to attempt to better reinforce the understanding of what social issues are most pressing to the community and why their service work is so important.
BG: How long has Teen Action been active at TMA?
TH: We've been in partnership with TMA since 2007, I believe (we are not the original founders).

BG: Please describe a particularly amazing outing with students.
TH: My personal favorite experience over the past two years with the kids was a trip to Marvin Gaye Park, where we helped clear the stream and its banks of trash, debris, etc. The kids' personalities not only came out so clearly, but they joined together as a team with the staff so well that the motivation and enthusiasm was absolutely inspiring. We were laughing and joking but productive and effective - it was a wonderful experience.

BG: What is your favorite part in leading Teen Action?
TH:My favorite part of the organization is the kids - we're only a few years older, but their personalities and viewpoints on the world around them are so refreshing, its a blessing to be able to say we know them, never mind get to influence their lives.

While I visited Teen Action last week the students were in the middle of making presentations (as pictured above). Each presentation focused on an individual from history who had made an impact on their lives. After his presentation, I spoke with Melvin Atcherson about his presentation and his experience with Teen Action.

Brita Gall: Tell me about why you joined Teen Action.
Melvin Atcherson: I joined to get community service hours and to help others in need. It's a fun way to help and give back to the community.

BG: Describe your favorite project or activity with Teen Action.
MA: Volunteering at Community of Hope. We help the little kids with homework, taking them to the park, and just entertaining them.

BG: Describe your presentation
MA: We had to pick someone that impacted history. We picked Jackie Robinson because he broke the race barrier for sports.
Thanks for Teen Action for their leadership and commitment to helping the greater community of DC!

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