Since Teen Lifeline began in 2008, it has been part of our task to know what resources are out there, connect to them, evaluate them and share them with the people that need them. In spite of our efforts and the efforts of those around us, it is still difficult, especially in times of great need (crisis), to know where to get those resources. This is why I still hear school counselors say, “When (it) happened, we didn’t know who to call.” It is also why parents share the same sentiment.
I believe the core reason for this is that in times of crisis or even just an extended adrenaline rush, our brains are trying to access information that we have not spent time inputting into our brain. Once I realized this for myself, I began to make some changes in the kinds of information I chose to intake. I decided to begin consuming the information I may need in a crisis or simply a difficult situation so that my brain could recall it when I needed it. If my brain couldn’t recall it, I wanted to be able to know where to look or who to call.
The fact is, if you are a school counselor or a parent or a youth worker of any kind, and you talk to a teen dealing with a difficult issue or who is in crisis, and Google “teen counseling” or “teen in crisis,” you will get hundreds of millions of hits. Where do you go from there?
Many things can create opportunity. This blog is about 2 separate opportunities. One has been created because of the work we do at Teen Lifeline and the other comes from a friend’s life experience. As the two intersect something cool happens and a new opportunity is created to impact students lives.
Let’s begin with Teen Lifeline’s opportunity. Over the past 5 years our nonprofit has continued to build relationships with schools as we offer our services to teens to help them make better choices. This time one of those relationships translated into an invitation to speak at a local high school. I accepted before I realized it would be a group of 700 high school freshman. Regardless I saw this as a chance to speak on some important topics and help these freshman shape their view on these matters. As I prepared, my wife had a great suggestion. She thought I should invite someone to join me that could speak from personal experience about one of the topics.
I thought about who this would be for a long time before realizing I should invite Kyle (pictured above). Kyle was a student in the youth group when I was a youth minister. I had worked with him some to try to help him create positive coping skills rather than the drug and alcohol use he was choosing. Though things didn’t change immediately I trust that our conversations helped influence his later decision to stop using and turn things around. Unfortunately he experienced all kinds of drugs, prison, and dropped out of high school 3 credits short of graduating.
Thankfully the story does not end there. Kyle chose to start getting help. His help has included church, a 12 step program, and his sponsor. These steps have made it possible to take on the responsibility of getting married, starting a new job and expecting a baby anytime.
This turn around has created Kyle’s opportunity. He accepted my invitation to be interviewed at the high school. As he spoke you could tell the students were really listening. Afterward he stayed around and was swarmed by students asking questions and thanking him for what he shared.
These opportunities come from what Teen Lifeline is intentionally doing to help teens live life better.
Thanks goes to Kyle for turning things around and for being vulnerable enough to share that with an auditorium full of freshmen.
Here’s the truth, we cannot act on these opportunities without your help. Your support of our efforts makes it possible for us to build relationships with schools, students, and other organizations. Right now is the perfect time to do just that. Our 5th annual 5K is coming up this Saturday October 26, 2013. Please take a moment to learn more about our only fundraiser each year at lifelivedbetter.org/tl5k13. You may already have a heart for teens and want to go ahead and donate which you can do at TL5K 2013.
If you are unable to support us financially would you help us spread the word by sharing on your social media choice below?
Before you click away, do you have a story you are willing to share? Comment below, you never know who’s life it may change for the better.
Celebrating 4 Years of Life Lived Better!
I am very excited to be writing you about what is happening with Teen Lifeline. Over the past 4 years you have kept up with us through our website (which is now updated here). After 4 years of impacting students and working with schools, churches, courts, and families we have new things to announce. I hope you enjoy hearing about what is coming and will take the time to share what we are up to with others that believe in making a difference in the life of a teen.
With this post I have two big things to announce and there will be more to come. (more…)