By Lindsay Ganci, Director of Youth Engagement at The Community Synagogue of Port Washington, NY.
This post was originally published in the Journal of Youth Engagement.
At The Community Synagogue of Port Washington, N.Y., all Jewish teens in the area are welcome to join our youth programs—whether or not their families are dues-paying members of our synagogue. Our youth programs include: Junior POWTY (JPOW for short!) for 4-6th graders, POWTY Seven for 7th graders, and Senior POWTY for 8-12th graders.
Throughout the year, youth program members participate in events, trips, and informal learning experiences that focus on tikkun olam, social justice, and Jewish culture and values. Over the past few years, POWTY membership has increased dramatically, and members of each of our groups are offered a variety of entry points into Jewish life in our community.The synagogue’s clergy, lay leaders, professionals and congregants all understand and validate the significance of Jewish youth experiences in the lives of our young people, and accept the reality that not all the families in our community are willing or able to commit to membership in our synagogue. As it is our goal to increase our level of teen engagement post b’nai mitzvah and to continue to involve our community’s Jewish young adults in our synagogue and Jewish community, we realize that we must not only offer them exciting, meaningful programs, but also make them available to our young people. After all, there are other Jewish youth organizations offering competitively priced, if not free programs, so it is important that we, too, find ways to welcome every Jewish teen who is searching for engagement opportunities. Therefore, for the past few years, we have welcomed teens as members of our youth programs—regardless of whether or not they pay dues to our synagogue.
POWTY Youth Programs seek to provide events and experiences that engage children and teens in Jewish life as a way to establish and nurture strong Jewish identities. We recognize that each time a child or teen participates in a youth program, we have an opportunity to make Judaism relevant, engaging, and hopefully permanent in their lives. We recognize that participating in a POWTY Shabbat dinner might inspire a teen to celebrate Shabbat at home with her family. Once off to college, she just might miss it enough to leave her dorm on a Friday evening to walk across campus to Hillel. We recognize that the time our kids spend gathered around the island in our synagogue’s kitchen, chatting with their friends while a batch of rugelach bakes in the oven just might deepen the cultural connection these emerging adults feel to Judaism. We recognize that just one day spent preparing meals for guests at the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge might help young adults realize that Judaism isn’t just about prayer within the sanctuary, but that it lives in our acts of loving kindness, when we get our hands dirty through tikkun olam, and when these and other actions are guided by our Jewish values.
With all of this said, we also recognize the financial commitment our dues-paying members make to ensure our truly open-door policy, making it possible for all Jewish teens from Port Washington and the surrounding towns to engage in meaningful Jewish youth experiences. In an effort to assuage this cost, the dues for POWTY youth program members who are not members of The Community Synagogue are $50 more than for those members whose families are dues-paying members of the congregation. This pay structure allows us to open our doors widely so that our youth program can serve not only the teens in our building, but all those in our community who are searching for a place to belong.
As Hillel famously asks: “If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?” As a Jewish youth professional, and a member of the Jewish community here in Port Washington, I am proud that the answers to these challenging questions can be found inside the open doors of The Community Synagogue, where we welcome every Jewish youth seeking to engage in our community.
Lindsay Ganci is proud and honored to serve as the Director of Youth Engagement at The Community Synagogue of Port Washington, NY where the clergy, staff, and community fully support youth engagement. She is currently enrolled in the Certificate in Jewish Education for Adolescents and Emerging Adults program at HUC-JIR and is a member of the Reform Youth Professionals Association (RYPA).
“These programs and opportunities will give your child so many of the things you want them to have before they head out into the world. Don’t let them miss it. Yes, it is a sacrifice at times, but it is more than worth it.”
By Ira Miller, Director of Informal Education, Washington Hebrew Congregation
Originally posted on http://allthingsira.blogspot.com/
It was one of those moments we live for. I was having a great conversation with a recent high school graduate, just days before she was to leave for college. We talked about her summer travels, her class schedule, and all the things that go along with saying farewell to the place you’ve called home and creating a new life at college. She mentioned how surprised she was that she hadn’t cried once when saying goodbye to her closest friends. Many of them had already left for college, and after spending their last evening or having their last dinner together, they hugged and talked about staying in touch via Facetime and getting together over Thanksgiving. But this student had shed no tears. Our time together passed and she had places to go and errands to run, so I gave her some words of advice, wished her the best of luck, and watched her walk out the door.
Not two minutes had passed when I heard the door open again. She was back. She looked at me and said, “I should have told you this before I left, but thank you.” Her eyes welled up. “The reason I got involved in youth group is because of you. And I can’t imagine the last four years without this as part of my life.” Tears started rolling down her cheeks. “I don’t know why I am suddenly crying, but I didn’t want to leave without saying thank you. This has meant so much to me.” I handed her a tissue, gave her a hug, and said thank you back. She dried her eyes and say goodbye again, this time leaving for good.
What struck me about this interaction wasn’t just the emotion involved, but the individual. This was an involved student, but not one of my “super-involved” kids. She is someone who, from all external appearances, didn’t “need” youth group. She is social, studious, and active in school activities. As she moved through high school her involvement in youth group could easily have become a burden, taking time away from her other responsibilities. But she always found time.
I’ve had several conversations with recent high school graduates and their parents over the last few months about the impact our program has. These talks have been an important reminder that what we do makes a difference and impacts these young people. I’ve been reminded that we are changing students’ lives, giving them life skills, and providing them with the support of a community they aren’t likely to get anywhere else.
However, these incredible conversations are counterbalanced by the number of families I have spoken to who have chosen to allow their rising 8th grader not to participate in our educational programs or youth group. They are not interested, too busy with other activities, or long ago struck a deal with their kid that after Bar/Bat Mitzvah they could stop attending.
I want parents from these two groups to sit down in a room together and see what happens. I want the parents of my recent graduates to look the parents of 8th graders in the eye and say, “These programs and opportunities will give your child so many of the things you want them to have before they head out into the world. Don’t let them miss it. Yes, it is a sacrifice at times, but it is more than worth it.”
So how do we get parents who haven’t experienced it for themselves to “get it?”
A few weeks ago I attended an event with staff and lay leaders for a local Hillel. The board chair got up to speak and explained to everyone present that one of their most important jobs was to “tell the story.” Tell the story of what goes on at that Hillel. How are students impacted? How are the university and greater community affected? How does Hillel make a difference and why does it matter? They all know it does -- but it is time to tell the story of how.
That’s what I am realizing too. We have to tell the story. We need students to share their stories about why this matters to them and what they get out of it. We need parents to share how they’ve seen their children grow and mature through the experiences they’ve had with us. We need lay leaders, staff, and clergy to speak out to make sure our community knows these are not “extra-curricular” activities but lie at the core of why we have and belong to synagogues in the first place. I may not teach my teens Hebrew, but I do teach them to believe in themselves. I may not study the Talmud with them, but the life lessons they learn during the time we spend together are invaluable.
What’s your story? What’s your child’s story? What are the stories that help you, and all of us, understand the impact we are making on the Jewish youth of today, and the Jewish leaders of tomorrow? These are the stories we need to tell.
I hope you’ll share your story and encourage others to do the same. Please feel free to share your story in the comments section of this blog or on your own blog, Facebook page, or wherever you think it will reach the people who need to hear it.
Moses received the Torah from Sinai and transmitted it to Joshua; Joshua to the elders; the elders to the prophets; and the prophets handed it down to the men of the Great Assembly.
By: Beth Rodin, NFTY Director of Education and Special Projects
On my first day of work, I was 23 years old. That is much younger than most of the people I was working with – not to mention only a few years older than some of the teens in the program! How would I establish myself as a professional, trustworthy leader in this community?
There are many approaches to leadership and coming in to establish one’s self. I had read about Napolean, who lauded the power of a strong individual saying “Men are nothing; one man is everything”. Malcolm Gladwell also theorized that there is a certain physical stature – gender, race, attractiveness and even height – that is associated with successful leaders and even sometimes helps us overlook less-than-desirable qualities (Gladwell, Blink). There are even allusions to this premise in I Samuel in descriptions of Saul as “young and goodly, and there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he: from his shoulders and upward he was higher than any of the people” (I Samuel 9:2) or David as “ruddy, and of a fair countenance”(Samuel 17:42). As a 5’1” young woman, I already had height and gender working against me.
Luckily, Jewish Tradition has repeatedly shown that the “new and improved” motto is not successful in seamless leadership transition. In our history, an incoming leader is best served by publicly identifying his or her place in continuation of the history of the organization. The first book of Mishnah establishes that “Moses received the Torah from Sinai and transmitted it to Joshua; Joshua to the elders; the elders to the prophets; and the prophets handed it down to the men of the Great Assembly”(Avot 1:1) which legitimates the continued interpretation of Torah by the men of the Great Assembly (and therefore presumably their successors) - a direct link from God’s original revelation to the contemporary leaders. I felt much more comfortable thinking about convincing the community that I fit along a line of succession. Even thought I wasn’t being brought in to replace a previous leader who was not well-liked or who had a break with the organization, I had to assume that the members of the organization (adults and teens alike) were most strongly committed to the initial mission of the organization – and therefore I had to start there.
Here are 10 methods I used to ensure I was building coalition with teens and colleagues in my first few months!
1. Know your job description Make sure you have a written copy of it.
Who do you report to for Time off? Emergencies during events? New ideas that you want to implement? Challenges you have with parents or teens?
2. Don’t under estimate the power of a cup of coffee Take every one who has a vested interest in what you do – teens and adults – out for a cup of coffee and (most importantly) listen.
3. Use the CC line whenever you can Keep everyone in the loop of upcoming events, program updates, and letters that you send to the membership of the congregation.
4. Avoid being in the triangle! You may have multiple direct supervisors – but think twice before complaining to one about the other…
5. Find your advocate Who you can call when you have a question that you want to ask without getting a reactionary response? Who in the congregation is looking out for you and your well being and will notice when you are getting “tossed around the sea of politics”?
6. Send out a weekly or bi-weekly update Let people know what is going on in your youth group. It keeps them from assuming you aren’t doing anything and they will be impressed to know the extent of what is going on.
7. Tell people your schedule Say hi when you come into the office – let people know when you’re leaving. It raises your level of professionalism and will ensure that you get all of your messages.
8. Anticipate your challenges If you are about to bring something to the board (adult or teen) that will ruffle some feathers, pull aside some of the more outspoken people on the issue. Maybe you can build support before the meeting even begins.
9. Invite educators, Rabbis and lay leaders to your programs Ask a Rabbi to do a 5 minute teaching session at a lounge night – or to join you for a mixer. Invite the Cantor to teach an Israeli song to the group – or to judge the Jewish trivia game night. Perhaps your lay leader can lead a session about Jewish ethics in business – or meet the group for ice cream after a program…the possibilities are endless.
10. Open your mind and support the rest of the programs in your congregation as you hope they will do for you.
DAY ONE: Who am I? What am I doing here?
I remember my first day at work. I walked in, found my desk. Now what? Who should I talk to first? What is my first task in my huge job of making the world a better place for every young Reform Jew?
I found that it is important to start from the very beginning – get to know how the hierarchy of professionals and lay-leaders is set up – and think about where and how your position fits in. This process means taking time to do your homework – read the organizational chart, examine your own job description and be ready to ask questions to ensure you understand. Have you seen the organizational chart yet? And have you read your job description?
The organizational chart is necessary to visualize how your position is related to all other positions in the synagogue and how your position interacts with other positions and departments. You can also learn where to go for answers on various questions you might have based on the information from this chart.
TIP: As the youth director, you are a front line of communication with many of the parents and teens in the congregation. Often times, you will get questions about general congregational programs or policies that you don’t know the answer to. Use the organizational chart to direct the family to the right place rather than saying you don’t know. This raises both your professional appearance and the level of customer service you can provide to the families you serve!
QUESTIONS TO ASK ON THE FIRST DAY:
A Unique Role – with Unique Challenges
I have had a wonderful seven year journey – or has it been a wild ride – as a practioner of Jewish Informal Education. This field brings with it some distinct challenges which make it unlike any other profession. The ride I have been on since 2006 is not the one I expected – I have learned many important lessons that have helped me understand the very unique nature of working in the field of Jewish Informal Education. First, working within a community in which you live changes the nature of the relationship you have with co-workers. I imagine that those who work in other areas of professional life perhaps go home each night and make the distinction between their workplace and their living place. Relationships with others at work – including supervisors – are often primarily professional and one can maintain a social network that is totally separate from work colleagues. In this field, relationships so often cross professional and social lines – and more often than not, my coworkers were my former campers, counselors, religious school teachers or fellow youth groupers. More than once (or seven times) each year, I find that the lines between my personal and professional goals often become inextricably intertwined, which no doubt can lead to a confusion of priorities and boundaries.
As I spent years navigating these unique challenges, I found comfort in identifying the source of the tension that caused my confusion of priorities and boundaries. I acknowledged the tension in my position of being both an employee in a contractual relationship with my employer and a partner in a covenantal relationship with other members/organizations of the Jewish community. A covenant, as referenced 285 times in the Torah, has a profound connotation in a Jewish context. Most jobs are agreed upon under contracts stating terms defining what the employee will do and what the employer will pay in salary and provide in resources. Most of these terms relate only to the way that the employee interacts with their position. In the world of Jewish youth work, my interaction with and commitment to the job always felt more like a covenantal relationship. In the Torah, covenants usually speak of long term benefits, blessings and rewards to those who uphold their piece of the agreement and almost always speak of God’s involvement. Abraham was promised that his descendents would be as numerous as the stars and the sand and Noah was promised that by his actions, God would never again destroy the world. Covenants also acknowledge the effect on the future of the Jewish people if one doesn’t fulfill their obligations. Similarly, I have found that my work in informal Jewish education has the true potential to be bigger and more impactful than many employmental relationships.
From my personal experience, and in the wonderful relationships that I have created with my peers in this field, it is clear that most people who pursue this type of work are not just looking to fulfill a contract and accomplish tasks. Many of us are undeniably passionate about looking beyond the tasks explained in a job description and see our true mission as ensuring the healthy future of the Jewish people. I might even go as far as to say that each time I experience failure or a setback in my work, I am consumed by the potential effects and loss for the future of Jewish community. Knowing that my personal Jewish journey and future is so deeply invested in my work, it is expected that the boundaries of this job – and the personal and professional relationships formed – are unique among most employee and employer relationships.
Over the next few weeks, I am excited to share with you some of the lessons and tools that have guided me through navigating this unique role and maximizing my own satisfaction, success and achievements in these past few years.
About the author and the blog series:
Beth Rodin began her career as a Chicago-based youth advisor then became Regional Advisor of the National Federation of Temple Youth-Chicago Area Region. Beth Completed her Masters in Jewish Professional Studies (MAJPS) at the Spertus Institute and currently serves as NFTY’s Director of Education and Special Projects.
This summer, Beth will be sharing a series of created over the past few years of her time working with the URJ and NFTY. It is a compilation of lessons learned from her own personal search for the balance between finding both professional and personal fulfillment within her job. As Jewish youth workers, it is up to us to be committed to the future of this work by being our own advocates and keeping ourselves energized to continue the work we are doing.
These blogs are meant for Jewish Youth Professionals - veteran and new - to find the value of identifying the difference between personal and professional growth - especially while working in a community where you are also an active participant. We’ll be posting blogs periodically through the rest of the summer. We look forward to joining you in RYPA’s first blog series.
Jonathan “J.C.” Cohen, MAJCS/MSW
Director, URJ Henry S. Jacobs Camp
Just between us youth workers, we all know that other people just don’t get it – other than knowing that we work with young people, they have no true understanding of what we do and what it takes. That’s why people can say “it must be so much fun to get to play with kids all the time!” and “getting to be at camp all summer must just be great!” And we just grin, nod, and say “it sure is.”
The question I have been asked multiple (and I mean multiple, as in significantly more than twice) times in recent weeks is some variation of: “So, are you gearing up for summer?”
But I just can’t grin and nod at this time of year. I just have too much on my mind, and on my plate, to play the game. I can’t take it anymore.
EVERY time I have been asked the question, my response has been the same: “What other choice do I have?!? Summer is going to get here whether I’m ready or not!”
I try not to sound desperate, because that’s not what I’m feeling. And, it’s not frustration, or anger, or disappointment, or anything particularly deep. It’s my verbose, and interactive, way of saying “Sheesh!” (Sheesh, an interjection, used to express disappointment, annoyance, or surprise. Fun fact: According to Merriam-Webster, the word was first used in 1972 - I presume by an exasperated youth worker!)
I know the people who are asking are just trying to be courteous, to show interest in me. If I really had to explain to people what I REALLY do – the hours, the broad range of skills and abilities required, the depth of commitment required, the aggravations, the rewards, etc. – it would take a long time, require several visual aids, and…
It wouldn’t matter. I’m not in youth worker to receive validation from the larger world (although it would be NICE). I am a youth worker because it gives me the opportunity to help build the Jewish future. Because of the work I do, I am able to impact the lives of so many young people in so many meaningful ways. Every day, in so many varied ways, I get to make a difference in the lives of others. And that’s a pretty good reason to get out of bed every day.
Now leave me alone! Summer is going to get here whether I’m ready or not! But I’d rather be ready.
Originally Posted at
When I was 12, I was stuck at home the entire summer with my leg in a brace, recovering from knee surgery. My Dad, never one to miss an opportunity, decided this would be the perfect time to give me a crash course in cinema. A film buff, my Dad had waited all twelve whole years of my life to show me the films that shaped, inspired and entertained him and now, because I couldn’t outrun him, he was going to pass those films on to me.
Apocalypse Now, Full Metal Jacket, the Marx Brothers, all of Chaplin and most of Woody Allen. Dog Day Afternoon, The Deerhunter, Dr. Strangelove, Singin in the Rain, Godfather (only 1 and 2 of course) and the entire Mel Brooks collection, this Dad-curated summer of cinema exposed me to films that shaped my Dad’s point of view and, in turn, began to shape mine.
Two movies, seemingly unrelated, struck a nerve with me as I sat there that summer. “All the Presidents Men” a 1976 film starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman. The film was based on the book by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein about their time at the Washington Post as upstart, young reporters and how they uncovered the Watergate Scandal, bringing down the Nixon administration, forcing Nixon’s resignation from office. These two men fought back against editors, politicians, pressure from everywhere to stop searching for answers. But they persevered and found the truth; two people standing up for what was right and making an impact heard the world round. Their unflagging curiosity and drive and their belief that the American people deserved better were unbelievably resonant to me. Even at 12 I admired their strength and began to question what I would do in a similar situation.
So too with Gerry Conlon, the character played by Daniel Day Lewis in the 1993 drama”In the Name of the Father,” based on the true story of the Guilford Four, four young Irishmen and women wrongly accused of bombing an English pub in the midst of British/Irish violence in the 1970′s. While a decidedly different film, this movie focused on a small group of people who fought for what was right, fought for their innocence and didn’t give up in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. This man, Conlon, watched his father die in prison with him and lost many of the best years of his life as he fell victim to the rage felt in his community. The fact that Conlon stood up, spoke out and never lost hope reverberated with me so strongly and I launched, headfirst, into a phase of never-ending reading about “The Troubles,” something I never would have known anything about if not for this phenomenal film.
I was 12. With a brace on my leg and Dad sitting next to me, but as I watched those films, I felt something-a sense that I, too, could make a difference. Sure, I wasn’t an Irish freedom fighter or a DC journalist, but I understood what it felt like to be counted out and looked over. So many of our students do. The movies I was lucky enough to watch that summer helped me see outside myself and learn about the history of those who came before me. Film continues to spark my imagination, inspire me to take action and move me to speak out.
What are the movies that made you think, challenge assumptions and motivate you to action?These films are amazing tools we can use to help our students connect to the lessons, stories and concepts we bring to them every day. So, take a second to share some of the films that lit a spark in you. I can’t wait to watch them.
By Ira Miller, Director of Informal Education, Washington Hebrew Congregation
Several years ago I took over the 8th and 9th grade “religious school” program at my congregation. Since that time, some good and sensible changes have been made to improve a fairly traditional program. The program was well received, we had decent attendance and most telling, very few complaints (and let’s be honest, this is often the measuring stick we’ve used in the past!). But I was never really happy with the program. I didn’t want my standard to be “no complaints” I wanted it to be “excellence” and “excitement.” Our students and teachers weren’t engaged in the programs and I wasn’t eager to run it on a week to week basis. It was good enough, but not nearly good enough for what we were capable of.
Fast forward to September, 2012 and a program that isn’t simply acceptable to us but is actually something we take great pride in. We went away from a weekly night school model and became more flexible and accessible for more of our students. Our new program takes place on a variety of weekend days and a few weekday nights throughout the semester.
The basic philosophy of our new program was that every event had to be a special event. When teaching a weekly class over 12-14 sessions, there are bound to be days when you just throw something together and hope to survive. Our fundamental belief was that everything we did had to be worthwhile and at a high level. In order to make this work, we decreased the number of sessions but not the number of contact hours.
The highlight of our programming was our weekend day programs which brought out the best in our programming and the best in our students. Our programs were experiential, interactive, fun and used our surroundings as our classroom. We learned about being part of a community while rafting down the Shenandoah River. We explored Jewish values while standing at the MLK and Jefferson Memorials. We learned to “welcome the stranger” by going into downtown DC and understanding how cities welcome visitors.
Our students learned in new, different and enjoyable ways. They were more rested on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon then they would have been on a Tuesday night after a long day of school and extracurricular activities. They got quality social time with their friends while riding on busses and taking part in the programs. They got to use their camera phones to take pictures and answered questions via text messaging. They bonded together as a class and shared moments that simply can’t, or don’t, happen in a classroom.
And when we did bring them together during the week, we maintained the same philosophy that every program was a special program. We partnered with our local Jewish Social Service Agency to run a program on Holocaust Survivors in our community living below the poverty level. We ran a special leadership program and more.
We were originally concerned that the lack of regularity would hurt our attendance but in the end it helped us. Students who could never come during the week suddenly signed up knowing they would attend just on the weekends. Students who were busy on the weekends came during the week and enjoyed it so much that they started finding ways to attend on the weekends too. Our overall registration went up and active participation increased as well.
We knew that immersive experiences work. We knew that memories are made when you get on a bus and go with students. We knew that students act and react differently when standing in a park, at a landmark or on a city street than they do when they sit in a classroom. It was simply up to us to choose not to ignore these realities any longer. It was up to us to stop saying “we can’t do that” or “we don’t have time” and to start saying “how can we do this” and “how do we make the time.”
By Matt Jerome
From a very early age, children are sent the message that they need a role model in their life. A person for who can aspire to be compared. Very often, this will manifest itself in the form of teachers, sports team’s managers, parents and yes even clergy and Jewish Professionals. We are told to look at their teachings (both formally and informally) and incorporate those traits/skills into our own lives.
The following question naturally arises…who should you pick?
I believe there is a more important that must come prior to answering this one. That question is do you want a role model, mentor or a coach. What is the difference? There are distinct and important differences in the 3 different types of people that can have influence over your life. Making the right choice will determine your interaction with the individual.
In a comparison between the 3 types, there are many commonalities. They all embody a person that has qualities and/or skills that you would like to emulate. They will have something that they can teach you. Very often, the teachings are not lessons that come from a text book or a study. More common than not, they manifest themselves in the form of life lessons and failures that occurred in their own life.
A role model is an individual in which the behavior is observed from a distance. It is very likely that the role model is someone that the individual and the role model have never come into contact. They have certain qualities or practices that are admired. A few examples of this include athletic abilities, charitable contributions and success their selected occupation. Emulating these attributes is perfectly fine. The drawback to having a role model is the lack of 2-way interaction. It is purely an observational relationship with no form of discussion. There is little to no way to get life lessons from the role model.
The largest difference between a role model and a mentor is the one on one interaction. A mentor is someone that the individual works with on a fairly regular basis. Usually, they are in the same occupational field or the mentor served as a teacher of the mentee at a previous point in their life. The concept of a mentor is based on behavior. For the mentee, it answers many of the following questions “What did you do get here?” “Have you encountered this problem?” or “I want to succeed but am unsure how?” It involves observing the mentor (similar to a role model) but also includes the opportunity for discussion, evaluation and progress through 2-way communication between the mentor and the mentee.
We’ve all had some sort of coach throughout our lives. When you think of coach, you think of sports. A sports coach looks at a player’s skill, evaluates it and gives them advice on how to do it better. The basis of this relationship is the same in any form of coach. People have skills. The individual and their coach have a task based relationship. This is contrary to the behavior based relationship mentioned for the mentor. A coach looks at you work and gives you advice on how to improve your results.
It’s great to know the differences between all of these. But how can it be incorporated into Jewish teens? This has everything to do with teens. Every day, we encounter students in programs and communities that need guidance. Look at the issue they are facing and determine what type of person they need. But you may find that you are serving all of these roles at once. They will observe you from a distance, ask for help on life or even just how to be better at something. Take a minute and look around. You may already be a role model, a mentor and a coach for someone in your life.