Over the past few weeks I have had the pleasure of working with fifteen very talented young people. I was initially invited to help out in a workshop focused on helping them improve their public speaking skills. The workshop went extremely well. Even though some of them were shy at first , they all participated. Each one took a turn at the podium revealing something no one else knew about them.

These young people I speak of are involved in a very important program. It is called S(Students) T(Take) A(Action) for N(Neighborhood) D(Development). In the past six weeks they have participated in activities that vary from trash pick for small businesses to helping others with disabilities. It is truly amazing what our youth can do under the right leadership. This particular program runs off of funding from the government. It’s headquarters is located in Salem,Ma, and is under the direction of Christina Conti at the NSCDC ( Northshore Community Development Center.

I was struck by the dedication of the youth who were involved in this program as well as the leadership. These young people are from all different communities. Until this summer they did not know each other. Yet, in the span of six weeks they have become a very close group. They have learned in six weeks what a lot of people take years to grasp.

1) Teamwork- how to work with other people you may not know in order to complete a common goal.

2) Communication- the ability to communicate the needs of others to facilitate purposeful action

3)Leadership- enlisting the assistance of others to implement change

By becoming proficient in all of these three areas, they wrote letters to local government officials requesting assistance with some important matters. They also were able to reunite a lost puppy with its rightful owner.

Where do you S.T.A.N.D.?