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February 2021

Updated: Apr 14, 2021

Off to a great start!

Welcome to the first 2021 edition of Teens Thymes!

We're Meri Mazang (left) and Amenah Crosby (right), Northside and Southside Education Apprentices, and each month we will be sharing all the exclusive information and details of what goes on this year of TGG!

We started off the year with a fun orientation with a total of 50 Interns! 26 amazing Teens on the Northside with new Educator Kelli Johnson (right) and another group of 24 amazing Teens on the Southside with new Educator Mikaela DuPont (left).

Make sure to check out all the Teens' bios and selfies on our website.

New beginnings!

As you all know, the Interns typically go through six distinct units during the nine months. This year, however, instead of “units,” were calling them “vines.” We want to develop Teens through transformative experiences that cultivate belonging, skill-building, and connections to opportunities that grow leadership and “vine” is the perfect word for the Teens while they’re “learning, growing, and going”!

We’re using this new term, too, because instead of distinct units where Teens learn about one thing then move on to the next, Kelli and Mikaela have already planted the seeds of Healthy Living, Leadership, Professionalism, Entrepreneurship, and, this week, Financial Literacy. These experiences will then “vine” throughout the entire nine months, intertwining and connecting for an authentic learning experience.

To kick off our first month, then, we began with the Roots of Success vine which consisted of lessons about:

And much more!

To wrap up the first month, we ended with our first Growth Talks of the year! During Growth Talks, Mikaela and Kelli offer each Teen a “Go,” which is something good that they should continue doing and a “Grow,” which is something the Teen can improve. After each Growth Talk, each Teen is also allowed to give their Educator and apprentice a “Go” and “Grow.”

Strap on your gardening boots and make sure you join us next month when we reveal how the Financial Literacy and Healthy Living vines are developing!

Teens of the Month & Most Improved Teens

New this year, we’re recognizing two Northside Teens and two Southside Teens each month. Although all the Teens’ hard work never goes unnoticed, the first Teen of the Month and Most Improved goes to . . . drumroll . . .

  • Northside Teen of the Month: Briunna Smith (left)

  • Northside Most Improved Teen: Myriah Hunter (right)

  • Southside Teen of the Month: Elysium Morss (left)

  • Southside Most Improved Teen: Brenda Sanchez (right)

Congratulations, Teens!

The Last Word

by Dominic Inouye

Wait. Shouldn’t our bloggers Meri and Amenah get the last word--not the Education Director? Are you trying to steal their thunder? I hear what you’re thinking, but the reason I’m going to have the last word every month is because Meri and Amenah are going to have the first word. As former Interns and current Apprentices who are working beside Kelli and Mikaela day in and day out, they’re really the ones who are on the front lines. And one of our big goals this year is to elevate Teens’ voices. So let me have the last word.

My last word for February is FRESH.

Not FRESH as in “fresh food” . . . at least not yet. But FRESH as in “new beginning,” “blank slate,” “innovative,” “cool,” “great.” Two FRESH Educators. Two FRESH Apprentices. Fifty FRESH Teens. The world was hit hard last year with a deadly pandemic and killer cops, virtual fatigue and a second impeachment. What we all need is something FRESH: more people vaccinated and healthy, more racial justice now, a return to life as we once knew it with human interactions, and stronger, more humane leadership. And TGG needed something FRESH, too.

In our (minor) panic last March to get all that we had planned for in-person into the virtual realm, some things worked, others didn’t. I, for one, know that I didn’t do all I could (but I did the best I could in the moment) to pause, reflect, co-create and re-create with the Staff and Teens . . . and instead hit fast-forward, go, go, go . . . We survived, nonetheless, and helped a dedicated group of Teens transform in as many ways as there were Teens.

I am so proud of what we’ve co-created for the Teens--and the community--this year, and I can’t wait for Meri and Amenah to report to you each month all that’s going on.

The three months between the 2020 Graduation and the 2021 first day gave me and my colleagues that much-needed chance to pause, reflect, and think FRESH. Add to that the phenomenal interviews we conducted with so many applicants who blew us away with their mature, enthusiastic, and FRESH points of view, and our two FRESH Educators, who came in with FRESH eyes, experiences, ideas--and what we had for the month of February was a FRESH new approach to how to begin the Internship and a FRESH new plan for the how to make 2021 the best, most meaningful, most impactful, FRESHest year for TGG.

Until 2022, of course!

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