Teens Meet To Make A Difference

Monday, January 21st 2008, 10:14 pm
By: News On 6

It's about teens helping other teens solve community problems. That's the purpose of a program called Teen's Way. It's a program sponsored by the YMCA, the United Way and Williams. The News On 6's Rick Wells reports teens in the program gain leadership and life skills by working together to address issues that face other youth.

Monday was a sort of an organizational meeting for this year's Teens Way group. Students from five Tulsa high schools got together to discuss issues.

"Strives to get kids in high school involved in issues facing their generation," said Michelle Santos.

The first thing on their agenda was pizza. It makes sense because discussing issues on an empty stomach doesn't get anybody anywhere.

Zach Rowland is a junior at Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences. This is his third year in the program. He likes it because the teens are the decision makers.

"Being able to decide where money that we fund-raised ourselves. That we put together. We get to decide where it goes," said Zach Rowland of Teens Way.

They don't just hand it off to adults to make decisions for them. This meeting is the beginning of that process. In each of their schools, the students have formulated lists of issues they think are most important.

The larger group will prioritize the lists. They will coordinate fundraising efforts. And, eventually decide who gets the money.

"These kids are serious about it. They are serious. They take this responsibility to heart," said Barb Hasbini who works at Williams and has been involved with the program since it began.

Williams matches every dollar the students raise, so they can have more impact. Last year, they bought teaching aids for the Margaret Hudson School and helped fund a program at Tulsa Youth Services.

"They truly feel they can make a difference. And, they are," said Barb Hasbini.