[Youth Reflection] AALEAD through my eyes

By Ha Nguyen, Development & Communications Associate

Artwork by AALEAD youth

Spring finally arrives with days becoming longer, weather getting a bit warmer and of course with many trees blossoming with vibrant flowers. Here at AALEAD, youth are ready to spring into action by starting to take leads on facilitating workshops for their peers during AALEAD programs. By applying what they have learned so far in this year and practicing group leadership in a safe place like AALEAD, youth are able to share their passions with their peers and gain confidence on taking other leadership roles in their school and community outside of AALEAD.

Working in Development/Communications, one of my favorite tasks is to collaborate with our Program Coordinators across all regions: DC, MD, VA, and Mentoring to check in with our youth about how they view AALEAD programs and whether they feel that AALEAD has made any impact in their life. This week, as AALEAD youth takes their time to unwind during their spring break, I would like to share with you how our youth view AALEAD through their eyes:

“When I first came into AALEAD, I was the shyest person ever, I remember not talking to anyone but my program coordinator. But slowly throughout the year, AALEAD got me to open up and get out of my shell. In the year I started, there were a lot of good lessons based on teamwork, cooperation, leadership and much more. I started getting a little less quiet, especially after joining the Youth Council. I was able to be in a position of leadership while meeting other people from other schools, which kind of pushed me to be more outgoing. AALEAD has taught me not only how to make friends, but also how to be a good leader and how to feel comfortable to engage with others. AALEAD has helped me a whole lot. Through AALEAD I have learned that everyone has a voice.

During my leadership journey with AALEAD, I learned a lot about myself as well as learned about new things. I’m always nervous when I talk in front of a lot of people. With AALEAD, I became more confident and comfortable around my surroundings and people around me. When facilitating my own workshop, I got more used to being able to talk in front of a bigger crowd and audience. Working with the middle schoolers, I was able to learn that in order to have leadership, you have to be patient with all of them, but also responsible for them to participat. I can take all that I have learned here at AALEAD and use it in the future as I continue my journey ahead.

AALEAD made me develop skills I would not be able to on my own. A memory that helped me was when we had to lead our own activities and I was a facilitator for the warm-up of the day. It wasn’t hard to think of what to do, but it was hard for me to get everyone to pay attention. AALEAD taught me what a good leader was like. I learned that leaders were respectful, patient and responsible. I learned how to oversee a group and guide people through directions. AALEAD’s programs helped me find myself as a person by noticing my what my strengths and weaknesses were, showing me how to be a strong person mentally and connecting me with people who eventually became my best friends. AALEAD even helped me make new friends, who never even went to the same schools and were in higher grade levels, that are now my role models. AALEAD really impacted my life for the good, and made me independent, social and committed to the things that are important to me.

Want to learn more about AALEAD youth and how AALEAD Programs work?

Come join us at our upcoming Aspire to LEAD Breakfast on May 3rd, 2019 @ Top of the Town (Arlington, VA)!

RSVP here by April 26

Questions? Send us an email at info@aalead.org or at hnguyen@aalead.org!

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