Building Trust, Changing Lives
“Where can you go as a youth and feel so good that you want to just give and give to others until your heart explodes?” — Anthony Potts, Jr., Teen HYPE grad
Since 2004, Teen HYPE has been fortunate enough to help and watch teens grow into well-adjusted young adults. These teens are forever a part of our family and they continue to give back through their college careers and beyond.
Their stories are powerful and their success inspiring. Read about the impacts Teen HYPE has had on their lives.
Briana Payton, Princeton University
“I think part of the reason I got into Princeton was because of Teen HYPE. I wrote in my college essay that Teen HYPE planted the seed in me to always reach out to my community. It showed me that not only am I intelligent enough to identify the problems in our community but that when we unite with others, we can combat important issues.
“For example, we went to Detroit schools where HIV and other sexual transmitted diseases were running rampant and presented to school boards about implementing testing.
“We went to conferences like PeaceJam, where we discussed issues like sustainability and women’s rights. These opportunities helped me develop confidence, improve my public speaking skills and empowered me to be a catalyst for change.
“We were community activists at Teen HYPE, but we were a family first. It’s a place where you can be open about whatever you’re facing, and not be ashamed or embarrassed. You can share your successes and failures, and not ever feel judged.”
Javonte Thompson, Northern Michigan University
“But Teen HYPE saw something in me. They gave me the opportunity to be on the Teen HYPE board in a leadership position. They paid for me to be a part of the National Student Leadership Conference, a week-long program that brings in people from totally different backgrounds and cultures from all over the nation.
“Teen HYPE taught me about the kind of person I could be—that I could be a leader and that I could do it my own way.
“Now I’m a resident advisor at my university and Teen HYPE prepared me for that. It instilled confidence in me and gave me the opportunity to do things people my age wouldn’t normally get to do.”
Karltonio Jones, Alabama State University
“There are lot of people who have real talent—blessed with the gift of writing, acting or singing. But some people are scared to use that gift. At Teen HYPE, it’s easy to share it because everybody is supporting it, cheering you on—like family.
“I didn’t really have a family at school like that. I was friendly, but nobody was really my friend. Everybody at Teen HYPE accepted me for who I am. I could be that theater-type person and people really respected that.
“During my senior year, I was cast in two plays in my high school and at the same time I was the step instructor for Teen HYPE. It was stressful, but Teen HYPE is one of those places that pushes you to be great. It helped me develop the confidence that I could take on multiple projects and learn how to manage my time.
“I am now theater arts major in college. My freshman year, I had two pieces produced, and since then, I’ve been cast in multiple productions, a movie and a short film. Doing the play at Teen HYPE and being involved in the organization, inspired me do great things here in college.”