During our TEEP summer program, our middle school students spend one week exploring each one of our five core values (which we call the 5 Rs). Our fourth R is Reciprocity and our students learn that our starting place for Reciprocity is gratitude. Once we realize how grateful we are for all the good things in our lives we then try to give back to make our communities better places. Gratitude becomes the fuel that powers our work to give back to others. During the school year our 40 high school students in our Leadership Development Program (LDP) meet in small working groups every month to create and plan overnights that they then lead each semester for each grade of our middle school students. The purpose of these overnights is for our high school students to help our middle school students learn how to integrate the 5 Rs into their daily lives and choices during the school year.
At our 8th grade overnight on November 18th & 19th, our high school student leaders articulated to the 8th grade students how their gratitude for all that they had received from TEEP was a key reason for why they continue coming back to TEEP each year. They understand that helping to teach these lessons to the next generation of students is central to their work as emerging leaders.
Our students understand that TEEP is a part of a larger community, and that TEEP could not exist without the support of our larger community. Your support of TEEP in December will make another year of this work possible, and will allow this cycle of Reciprocity to continue. Thank you for your support.
-Paul Bowen, Founding Director of TEEP