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"Being a 4-H teen teacher is like nothing I've ever experienced!"

Kendra (left) with fellow teen teacher Layla
Meet Kendra.

Kendra is a student at Shakopee High School. Along with her best friend, Layla, Kendra volunteers as a healthy living teacher with 4-H’s Youth Teaching Youth program.

“I take time out of my own school day to visit local elementary schools and teach health and safety lessons to fourth and fifth graders. I had no idea how much of an impact I could make and how much I’d learn about myself. Being a teen teacher is amazing.”

Youth Teaching Youth teen teachers are trained by 4-H staff to deliver short series of lessons on important topics such as internet safety and alcohol and tobacco decisions. Pairs of youth work together to learn the curriculum, develop effective teaching skills, and build trust in each other as co-teachers.

“I have learned a lot about how to be a good teacher from this program. I didn’t realize how important it is to use a variety of teaching strategies in each lesson. We change it up, using visuals, interactive activities, videos, worksheets, and other tools to help every kid learn.”

Kendra and Layla leading a healthy living session
for a class of 4th graders
Being a teen teacher in 4-H’s Youth Teaching Youth program has also helped Kendra personally apply healthy living practices. As she teaches younger youth about internet safety, she’s reminded about making wise choices in her daily use of social media.

“I think now about posting safe photos. We all like taking and sharing funny photos of ourselves and friends and just assume that nobody will mind or use them in inappropriate ways. Now I realize that my choices can impact my safety and the safety of people I love. I definitely think twice before posting now, and especially look for hidden content in my photos, like street signs or personal information. Being safe online is something I’m very aware of now.”

Kendra is confident that she’ll continue teaching in 4-H’s Youth Teaching Youth program next year. She looks forward to building more leadership skills, learning new curriculum, and being a positive role model for many more elementary school youth.

“I love working with kids. Being a YTY teacher feels like a once in a lifetime opportunity. I’m able to talk to groups of kids about valuable information, teach with and build friendships with other teens, and be a positive influencer. It’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced.”

In 4-H, youth of all ages are empowered to develop skills they need to lead for a lifetime. Kendra is becoming a leader in her community as she shares knowledge and commits herself to modeling healthy living.

Thank you, Kendra, for being a True Leader in Minnesota!

Did you know?
The 4-H Youth Teaching Youth program is offered in partnership with local school districts and the community at large throughout the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area.

Youth in 4-H are twice as likely to make healthy choices and four times as likely to make positive contributions to their communities. Find 4-H in your community by visiting our website.

Erin Kelly-Collins
University of Minnesota Extension
Center for Youth Development

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