Growing up as a youth in Nederland was one of the most valuable experiences that has shaped my adulthood.
One vital component of my upbringing in Nederland was my time spent at TEENS, Inc. My first introduction to TEENS, Inc. was attending some of the Halloween parties as a young girl.
In middle school, I went to most of the dances hosted by TEENS, Inc. and loved having the opportunity to express myself through silly, crazy dancing and laughing with friends.
In high school, I spent most days after school hanging out at TEENS, Inc. for Teen Center hours. Whether it was to spend time with friends, study, or make snacks, I always had fun and felt safe and supported by the staff, people whom I felt I could talk to about anything and to this day, still catch up with them.
My junior and senior years of high school, I became a peer supervisor for the teen center and was able to have a job where I could still hang out with friends and learned valuable skills such as phone etiquette, resume building, and event planning. In college, I worked for the TeamWorks program one summer which was a great way to combine my passions of ecosystem conservation and relationship building. This opportunity also helped me redirect my career to something that fit me even better than maintaining trails and conveying the importance of conservation to the public; supporting teens and creating programming to give them fun, healthy experiences!
For me, TEENS, Inc. has been a long term, authentic, passionate, and caring support system. I have always found adults in the organization that I connected with who became my mentors and supporters. There has never been a time when I felt uncomfortable sharing difficult things with them and they often had great advice or simply gave a helpful listening ear.
More so, it has been incredibly encouraging to include TEENS, Inc. staff and members in my times of celebration. As I pursue my Bachelors in Zoology, they continue to cheer me on with every personal and academic achievement. I have watched them support and encourage numerous friends and peers in a variety of ways ranging from personal troubles to educational difficulties.
The staff at TEENS, Inc. truly want to help and support every single youth that walks through their doors, in any way they can. I am amazed and impressed that after nearly 25 years, they are still going strong to support the community and have expanded in many ways to continually meet new needs in the community.
Ultimately, in 2019, I chose to join the board of directors because of my many positive experiences at TEENS, Inc., it has been one of my ways to give back. This organization has created an unforgettable impact on the lives of Nederland area teens and their families. As someone who has not only grown up in Nederland but also has had five generations of family who have lived here, I can definitely say that I am proud to be a part of the Nederland community and hope to pass that on to other Nederland area youth.