For many students, forty-five service hours seems like a lot to volunteer, but with a steady commitment and a true interest in the cause, nothing about joining a teen board feels required. These high school age programs are run by non profits as an opportunity to collaborate with other teens around the city on issues in their community and how to make their mark on the world. To tell of exciting leadership opportunities around the metropolitan area, I interviewed Irene Eckman and Sarah Spring about the past and present councils they have served on.
Irene Eckman (‘20) told me of the work she has done with the Special Care center on their teen board, in addition to many programs at OU Children’s Hospital. Special Care provides education, therapeutic centers and personally specialized care for children with and without special needs. This particular teen board allows members to spend one on one time with students at a variety of monthly events. Eckman says “it’s super fun!” and encourages anyone in their sophomore, junior or senior year to apply.
I also sat down with Sarah Spring (‘22) to discuss the work she will be doing this year in the YLX program at Leadership OKC. “YLX is a program that helps our youth learn about the different positions in our community, different people and what they do and how they contribute to our community.” Like a teen board, the YLX program is a class that meets once a month to discuss topics from leadership skills to fundraising ideas. According to Spring, what’s so cool is “we learn how to be prominent figures that will become important and help our youth find good spots in our future society.” In addition to this program, Leadership OKC offers a youth council providing a first hand look at local political and social issues.
These two organizations are not where the incredible service opportunities stop! Many past and present students have served on the teen board for OKC Beautiful, including Anna Buckley (‘19), who won their prestigious service scholarship last spring. OKC Beautiful provides service and leadership opportunities to high school sophomores, juniors and seniors who want to work on beautifying the community and building strong environmental skills, like recycling and planting community gardens. Members meet once a month and organize exciting events all year long. Foundations like Children’s Miracle Network, Oklahoma Arts Council, Infant Crisis Center, Humane Society and the Oklahoma Heritage Association all offer excellent youth boards that not only provide learning opportunities to participants, but the service hours we all need.
To find out about more teen boards or other service opportunities with area nonprofits, contact Ms. O’Melia or check the individual websites. Find your new passion through one of these interesting and unique service programs from a connection in the Casady community today.