“Kids these days!”
That exclamation is not typically said in a positive manner. More often, it’s used as an expression of disdain or despair about the youth of today. But there are kids these days who are doing great things and are worthy of this phrase as praise.
Let me tell you about some of these kids at The LeaderShop (formerly CEP Youth Leadership), a service agency dedicated to empowering youth to become community-minded individuals through diverse programs that foster confidence, knowledge and leadership. LeaderShop youth are from an array of communities and family backgrounds in Lyons and Proviso townships.
Each month, teen leaders from The LeaderShop come to my school, Brook Park Elementary School, where I co-advise K-Kids. Part of the Kiwanis family, K-Kids is intended to build leaders through community service. When our group was founded in fall 2012, we had no idea we’d have just over 70 participants. Programming for that many young people at once is a challenge. As a member of the Board of Directors of The LeaderShop, I realized there would be synergy between the two organizations that could help us all. And indeed there is.
The LeaderShop’s Teen Leaders come to my school to help facilitate the K-Kids program. They coordinate whole and small group team-building exercises, which the K-Kids love. After the first time the two groups interacted, the K-Kids begged for more. The teen leaders are terrific role models for my young students, demonstrating cooperation, creativity and compassion.
Come see what “kids these days” look and act like on any second Friday, and you’ll see the energy and enthusiasm they have for each other, and for the local and global communities. Kids these days are terrific — thanks to the programs of The LeaderShop.
Lynda Nadkarni is an art teacher at Brook Park School in La Grange Park