What’s been going on at Real Life during the month of December? We have a few updates from our Interns to share with you!
“The past two weeks have been spent on Financial Literacy. While this is not always the most fun thing to teach and for the students to learn, I think we were all surprised by how much fun we could have! We got to build towers out of paper and tape while learning how to save and budget money. We also learned what characteristics we have when dealing with money which is really helpful as students are beginning to get jobs and internships. We had a record number of students on Monday and are excited to continue to see the program grow as we build relationships and friendships that will last a long time.” – Michelle Moynihan, Cottonwood High School
“This month we have been talking about being a part of a community and working together as a team. One of the days this week, the lesson that was planned did not work out like we were expecting. Luckily, we had brought board games as a backup. We let the teens choose a game and get into groups to play them. It was a lot of fun to teach them how to play games that they had never played before. I noticed that one of the groups had stopped playing the game that they had chose, and the peer mentors taught them how to play “Down By the Banks.” The teens really seemed to enjoy playing that. I even saw some on the teens that do not like to participate as much, were engaged and having fun. I feel like this was a really good bonding activity for everyone involved: the teens, the peer mentors, and even the site staff. Even though the original plan fell through, we were still able to do something that helped us build community. I hope that the teens learned that the people in our communities can become great friends.
For our holiday activities, we played different Minute To Win It games and the teens were so excited to play! They were all willing to participate and get engaged in what we were doing. We were also able to complete our service project. We tied blankets to send somewhere that the teens chose. They decided to send the blankets to a homeless shelter, where they will be greatly appreciated. One of the things I love the most about the holiday season it that we can enjoy all the festivities and have fun with one another, but we are also able to serve the people in our community. I feel like these past few weeks, the teens at Sunnyvale were able to do just that.” – Alyssa Whetstone, Sunnyvale
“Last week at the Scott School we really focused on creating relationships between the participants. On Monday we did an Egg drop activity in teams and worked on our problem solving skills. Both the teams did so well their eggs survived the drop! On Wednesday we started to knit hats for our monthly service project. It was challenging but fun! After our activity we played some games and had a little dance party. It’s great to see that everyone is enjoying the program and getting out of their comfort zone.” – Madison Sudweeks, Scott School 
“We have had growing attendance each day and increasing enthusiasm with every lesson. It is so much fun working together and helping each other solve problems. We have had great lessons in team building, community as well as our exciting holiday party and service project! The peer mentors and participants are engaged and everyone is learning and bonding very well. Here are some photos from the past few weeks! We are all excited to continue programming!” – Kate Harris, Highland High School
“We started the month out with an information session for our students and parents concerning immigrant and refugee legal rights. At the information session, we had three lawyers come and explain immigrant/refugee rights when it comes to living standards and other basic laws; we were able to hold a Q & A for all those who attended which helped the families tremendously in terms of the new up-coming presidency and all other basic human rights.
Throughout the month our students bonded immensely with our mentors! Our students bond mostly through the homework help that they receive from our mentors due to the fact that they can struggle together and learn from each other. A huge accomplishment for us at WHS was that all of our students have A-’s or better in all of their classes! It is such a jubilant feeling seeing our students succeed and start to love school! Throughout the month we were able to learn about financial literacy and how money works within banks; it was fun being able to teach the students about something that relates to their current everyday lives.
Our last day of Real Life before going to Christmas break our mentors and students all participated in West High School’s annual “Wrap Fest.” The Wrap Fest is where students fold and decorate boxes for refugees and senior citizens that will be filled with winter goodies such as hats, gloves, scarves, etc. It was so much fun! There was Christmas music playing and everyone was so happy to be helping a great cause! My love for Real Life and all the kids involved grows more every day; I cannot wait for another great month this January!” – Mia Quintero, West High School
To learn more about our teen refugee peer mentoring program, visit: www.youthlinc.org/programs/real-life