The New Hampshire Teen Institute is a non-profit organization that offers leadership and risk prevention training to teens, helping them understand and grow into their own strengths and potential. Susanna Keilig participated and volunteered in the Teen Institute’s “Leaders in Prevention” program and in the week-long summer program.
Susanna: Summer program was probably one of the coolest things I’ve done. They bring a bunch of teenagers from around the state together and they create a community that’s very open and welcoming, as well as very safe feeling. I think a lot of times teenagers are often not always fully seen in society and it’s really good for teenagers to know that people do care and that there are people who will help them and will teach them the tools that they can use for the rest of their lives.
One of my favorite experiences was when we wrote down our strengths and then we wrote down one thing we wanted to let go of. And that we were able to throw in a fire which was symbolic of letting it go.
We created mantras; we wrote this quote that we lived by on card stock and we got to decorate it. Mine was a Mumford & Sons quote, “Get over your hill and see what you find there, with grace in your heart and flowers in your hair.”
I went from someone who felt a lot more anxious about different things in my life – not having faith in myself to be able to overcome those things – to someone who has that weight lifted off my shoulders and a much higher self- esteem. And it’s nice because the bonds we made with people are ones that are still really strong.