High School Teen Trendsetters™
Reading Mentors in Rutherford County Recognized for Excellence in Leadership
(Smyrna, TN) – High school teens from Volunteer USA’s Teen Trendsetters™ programs are being recognized for their outstanding work in the award winning reading mentor program for youth. Among the honorees – Justin Snowden of Smyrna West Alternative School, who has been serving as a volunteer mentor at David Youree Elementary School.
The program pairs high school students with second and third-graders for one-on-one weekly mentoring sessions. The goal is to help at-risk mentees who are at least six-months behind their peers in reading skills and to nurture the volunteer spirit among youth leaders. The teens received training in reading mentoring and leadership skills at the beginning of the school year before helping the younger students with weekly mentoring sessions focused on reading proficiency and other educational activities.
Locally, Justin is recognized for his excellent service and leadership in serving as a volunteer Teen Trendsetter™ this school year.
According to Kelly Messerly, Program Advisor, “Justin, a senior, has been sent to our alternative school three times. Admittedly, that is NOTHING to be proud of. He’s one of those kids who hears the beat of a different drummer and never quite figured out how to blend in at his home school. Nevertheless, he has always conducted himself as a model student and citizen while here. He has eagerly and willingly joined every service project we’ve conducted and has proven to be an outstanding leader. He has participated in Teen Trendsetters twice and can be counted on to teach new mentors how the program works. Further, he gives support to those who might be a little hesitant and can ease the fears of the mentors and mentees alike. His mentees adore him and enjoy the humor he brings to each lesson. Additionally, he has carried the lessons he’s learned in Teen Trendsetters into another class that reads to kindergarten students. He and his classmates make books come alive by creating skits from the stories. I believe Teen Trendsetters has been a positive influence in Justin’s life — as he has been a positive influence in his mentees’ lives.”
State Farm® is a key sponsor of the Teen Trendsetters program in Florida, making it possible to provide the training, books and other materials at no cost to schools and students. “The Teen Trendsetters™ program makes reading fun for kids, encourages teens to be mentors, and helps increase reading scores year after year. State Farm® is proud to support such a successful education initiative in Florida”, said Lisa Roy, Public Affairs Field Manager whose team leads the education efforts for State Farm® in Florida.
Smyrna West Alternative School, Rutherford County, Tennessee, was selected by State Farm to participate in this program.
Today there are 60 high schools serving 65 elementary schools across the state with approximately 3,000 students benefiting. The program also provides approximately 16 free Scholastic books to each of the elementary mentees to add to their home libraries. Teen Trendsetters™ has been recognized nationally as one of the most successful and cost-effective youth mentoring programs. The results in Florida are impressive:
- Among Elementary Mentees: -At-risk reading performance drops in half; twice as likely to pass standardized reading test
- Among Teen Mentors: 99% graduate high school; 74% earn Bright Futures – compared to just 38% of their peers
Nationally, Teen Trendsetters™ is sponsored by Comcast. The program is proudly managed by the nonprofit Volunteer USA Foundation (VUSA) and a winner of the prestigious Harris Wofford Award and Youth Thrive Award as one of the best youth programs. For more information please visit www.volunteerusafoundation.org.
About State Farm®:
State Farm and its affiliates are the largest provider of car insurance in the U.S. and a leading insurer in Canada. In addition to providing auto insurance quotes, their 17,800 agents and more than 65,000 employees serve 81 million policies and accounts – more than 79 million auto, home, life and health policies in the United States and Canada, and nearly 2 million bank accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for renters, business owners, boats and motorcycles, is also available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 37 on the Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit http://www.statefarm.com or in Canada http://www.statefarm.ca.