Teens Making a Difference


Erin Brogan and Hannah Locke

Here at DHS, we are lucky enough to have our own chapter of Teen Leadership Corps, better known as TLC. TLC, as defined by advisor Mrs. Sondag, “inspires and empowers young people to become leaders through service projects.” It is a nonprofit organization founded by Huron High School teacher Mary Ann Creamer with the idea of empowering the teens of Ohio to “Lead. Serve. Inspire the world.” With nearly 30 schools offering TLC as an elective, students are able to network and build relationships with members state-wide. For example, our school is competing against another local school in an October sock drive for the local homeless shelters. Socktober is just one great example of how TLC allows students to collaborate through service projects in order to help out those in our community. 

Within our school, juniors and seniors accepted into the program are given incredible opportunities that “are different from those in many classes” (Sondag). Some of which include volunteering at local elementaries every Tuesday and welcoming guest speakers every Thursday. These opportunities will help students prepare for their future, no matter what that may entail. Volunteering opportunities give students first hand experience in different careers while guest speakers widen students’ knowledge about how leadership skills can be incorporated into every occupation. Members enjoy learning outside of the classroom and getting real world experience, and in addition, members of our community enjoy the extra help TLC is willing to provide. It’s a win-win scenario. Recently, the class took to Crater Stadium to participate in a nation-wide service of finishing the run of 34 year old Eliza Fletcher [Liza] who was abducted and killed on her run near the University of Memphis. This run was not about raising money, but instead raising awareness for women’s safety and honoring Liza. This is just one of the many great services TLC does to better our community. 

Regarding future plans, students will receive and respond to second graders in the form of holiday letters. There is also word that some famous holiday characters such as Olaf and Santa Claus may be making an appearance. Although this is a small act of service, the positive impact it will have on the second graders is something they will not forget. Learning the positive impact your actions can make is one of the lessons that hold importance within the TLS curriculum, and is one that – unlike calculus or chemistry- will last a lifetime. They will also be learning about the coffee bean lesson – a strategy for handling difficult pressure with ease – by reading the book written by Jon Gordon and Damon West, in addition to talking to Damon West one on one. Then, the class will share their knowledge with the rest of the school by traveling to different advisories to talk to students. They will also read the children’s version of the book to students at local elementary schools. This not only provides meaningful experience presenting and educating for students in TLC, but it will also provide helpful knowledge to students district-wide. In a very high-pressure society, students have a lot to learn about how to manage stress and I, myself, am very excited to learn what the coffee bean lesson has to offer. 

So, why else should students consider taking TLC (other than the reasons already mentioned)? We talked to students taking the course this year to get some additional opinions. For students like Bella Zobel who enjoy leaving a positive mark, “[TLC] is a great way to get involved in the community and influence the culture in Dover,” (Bella Zobel). Not to mention, since almost all activities are done within school hours, required work outside of class is comparable to any other amount of homework one may have. Another student that represents TLC is Elaina Samsa, who is a senior at Dover High School.  According to Elaina, the experience of being in TLC is one that “you will most likely never encounter again.” Not only is this a valuable experience, but Elaina also describes it as “fun” and “looks forard to class every single day.” By being with friends and building the community together, TLC is an enjoyable class for all upperclassmen involved. This is one of the few classes that embraces the opportunity to reach out to your community, and more students should definitely consider joining the class. 

Furthermore, students enjoy the class, but can also use this as an opportunity to explore possible career paths and interests. By working with younger students in classrooms, Elaina Samsa plans to use her experience in this class to “figure out if [she] wants to be a teacher.” Because this is a possible future for her, the leadership skills she plans to learn will be implemented not only in her career, but entire life (Elaina Samsa). Skills such as leadership and community service are personal skills that are not incorporated in other classes as it is in TLC.  Teen Leadership Corps is an incredible opportunity for all students at DHS to reach out, learn, all while working with your friends and having fun.  Dover is lucky and proud to have a TLC program in their district.