Dr. Leader shares her memories of the early days of Teen Line in a series we call…
TEEN LINE FOUNDATIONS
By Elaine Leader, Ph.D., CGP, BCD, FAGPA
One of the most important aspects of our program has been the development of relationships with schools and youth groups. This began at our very beginning when I was fortunate to meet Marilyn Bush who, at that time, was in charge of community liaison for the Los Angeles Unified School District. Marilyn arranged for me to speak at a meeting of LAUSD high school principals to let them know about our helpline. What an experience that was, speaking to 49 principals who were responsible for the education of thousands of teens!
I am delighted to tell you that this meeting led to the beginning of our longstanding relationship with the LAUSD school system, even when they changed their formation into districts. Marilyn continued to promote Teen Line until she eventually retired, by which time we had developed ongoing relationships with many of the LAUSD high schools. For example, we continue to this day to speak at the beginning of each school year to all the 9th graders at Taft High School at the behest of a wonderful teacher. Likewise, other schools regularly ask us to bring our outreach to their students so that they learn about us not just as a resource but also as an opportunity for volunteering.
Many people are not aware of the fact that the greater Los Angeles area has several other local school districts including the Beverly Hills Unified School District and the Santa Monica-Malibu School District. For several years, we were also fortunate to receive funding from Sony to do outreach to Culver City schools and more recently are reaching out further afield to districts such as Compton.
In addition to reaching out to smaller school districts under the umbrella of the Los Angeles County Board of Education, we have longstanding relationships with most of the private high schools in this area also. We value our connections with such private schools as Milken, Marlborough, Archer, Windward, and Wildwood to name a few. Many of the public and private schools we work with require their students to do community service, which has led to many of them applying to Teen Line to train to become Listeners.
Although much of our outreach to youth occurs through the schools, we also have made some wonderful connections with other youth organizations and are invited to speak to their teen participants. These include programs for at-risk youth such as the Optimists and the Aviva Center. Some of these are youth programs associated with temples or churches. Others such as the Florence Crittendon Services were associated with a particular teen concern – teen pregnancy and parenting.
No matter where youth are located, Teen Line is there to help, but in order to do so, we have to let them know we are here for them. This means extending and enriching our outreach services. Having outstanding speakers for our specialized presentations and an energetic Outreach Coordinator make all the difference too!
Miss an earlier Foundations Blog? Catch up here: