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Social Change Project

The Jeter's Leaders Social Change Project is a week-long event created to share one of the Turn 2 Foundation's core principles with communities across the country.

Every two years, the New York and Kalamazoo Jeter's Leaders come together to make a positive difference in an area outside their hometowns. This journey brings the program's participants to a new city every year, where they complete a community service initiative intended to inspire social change.

As part of the Social Change Project, the Jeter's Leaders also have the opportunity to tour the host city, visit colleges in the area and attend various informational sessions, all with the goal of broadening their horizons and helping them become stronger citizens.

While the Jeter's Leaders learn and grow as young men and women through their experience, they also hope to serve as role models for others, inspiring the ideals that drive the Turn 2 Foundation: academic excellence, positive behavior, healthy lifestyles, leadership and social change. That is why the Social Change Project is a cornerstone of the Jeter's Leaders program.

2014 Jeter's Leaders Social Change Project
Kalamazoo, Michigan
July 27-Aug. 1, 2014

 Watch: Video recap
  Photo gallery

The New York and Kalamazoo Jeter's Leaders traveled to Derek's hometown of Kalamazoo, Michigan, for their biannual service project from July 27-Aug. 1 of 2014. During their time in Kalamazoo, all the Jeter's Leaders were able to learn more about Derek Jeter's roots, while the Kalamazoo Jeter's Leaders were able to highlight their favorite parts of their hometown for the New York Jeter's Leaders. The Leaders were determined to leave a lasting impression on the Kalamazoo community.

The trip began with a tour of Derek's hometown, where Leaders visited places that were important to the Jeter family. They were able to see Westwood Little League, where Derek played as a boy. The Leaders even ran the bases at Kalamazoo Central High School, where Derek honed his skills before becoming a New York Yankee. The Leaders ended their hometown tour with an ice cream social at Dairy Queen, one of the Jeter family's favorite spots.

Community service and social activism are major components of the Jeter's Leaders program. Jeter's Leaders worked together under the guidance of Volunteer Kalamazoo to help create a community green space at Derek and Sharlee Jeter's alma mater, St. Augustine Cathedral School, where the Diocese recently embarked on a multi-phase campus improvement plan. Over two days, the Leaders created murals for the school, prepped and laid sod for a multi-purpose field, assisted in creating an outdoor classroom for students and the public and helped with overall maintenance.

When their work was complete, the Leaders presented St. Augustine with more than 150 books donated by Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing and Jeter Publishing for the school's library. To help complete the project, which will foster enhanced educational and outdoor recreation opportunities for the downtown Kalamazoo community, the Turn 2 Foundation also donated $50,000 to St. Augustine.

"True leadership is about affecting positive change," said Sharlee Jeter, president of the Turn 2 Foundation. "The Jeter's Leaders are ambassadors for Derek in their communities, and that is why social change is at the heart of everything they do. This service project is their way of making a lasting impact on St. Augustine and the surrounding community not only through the work they do but by the example they set."

Following the project's completion, the Jeter's Leaders unwound with a family-style barbeque dinner on the beautiful quad of Kalamazoo College. The Leaders were able to bond, play games and enjoy healthy desserts from Luvo. After dinner, the Leaders were surprised with an advance screening of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in 3D at the Alamo Drafthouse in downtown Kalamazoo.

The next day, Jeter's Leaders hosted Re2pect Your Health, a special interactive event at Bronson Methodist Hospital that provided Kalamazoo children with tips for healthy living alongside Derek Jeter's 10 Life Lessons. Throughout the day, hundreds of children visited 10 booths, where Leaders and Bronson staff shared information on topics such as healthy eating and maintaining good posture. Children also had the opportunity to participate in group exercises including boot camp, and interactive healthy eating activities such as a station where they had a chance to make their own trail mix.

Re2pect Your Health was followed by Re2pect Your Community Presented by PNC Bank in partnership with the Kalamazoo Community Foundation. This community-wide event was held at Chenery Auditorium and was intended to inspire and empower every local resident to work together toward a better Kalamazoo.

New York Times best-selling authors Dr. Sampson Davis, Dr. George Jenkins and Dr. Rameck Hunt -- together known as The Three Doctors -- shared with the Kalamazoo community the story of how their quest to reach their full potential helped them to overcome the obstacles they faced as young men growing up on the tough, inner-city streets of Newark, New Jersey.

"Having grown up in Kalamazoo, I have so much respect for this community," Derek said. "Respecting your community means being part of a team and working to help shape its future. We are proud to be part of that team and we hope to inspire all community members to help build a better Kalamazoo."

Because college preparation is a major component of the Leadership Program, the Jeter's Leaders ended the week with visits to Kalamazoo College and Western Michigan University. They also learned about the importance of the arts in Kalamazoo. Each Leader made a small glass panel at West Michigan Glass Arts that became part of larger fused glass panels. This project gave the Leaders a way to use art as a tool to reflect on their week of social change work. To top it off, that evening, Leaders worked with improvisation actors, dance instructors, a visual artist and a recording artist to create new pieces of art that served as a way for each Leader to personally reflect on the week in their own way.

2012 Jeter's Leaders Social Change Project
HandsOn Greater DC Cares
July 22-28, 2012

 Watch: Trip highlights
 Photo galleries: 1 | 2

The New York and Kalamazoo Jeter's Leaders traveled to Washington, D.C., for their biannual service project July 22-28, 2012. During their time in Washington, the Jeter's Leaders were determined to leave a lasting impression on the community and aim to take the ideals and fundamentals of the nation's capital back home with them.

The trip began with a visit to Capitol Hill, where the Jeter's Leaders learned about the rich history of America's struggle to form a democratic government that represents such a diverse nation. They toured the halls of Congress and learned about Statuary Hall, the Rotunda and Crypt.

College preparation is a major component of the leadership program. The Jeter's Leaders visited Howard University, a federally chartered, private, coeducational, nonsectarian, Historically Black University. They also visited the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., where they learned about the evolution of the Navy and its impact on the history of the United States.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), hosted the Leaders to share its latest research findings on the causes, consequences, prevention and treatment of alcohol abuse, alcoholism and alcohol problems among teens. The students participated in the interactive Drunken Brain exhibit, exploring specimens from the world's largest brain collection and taking part in hands-on activities in NIAAA laboratories. They also toured the NIH Clinical Research Center and had a question-and-answer session with scientists about alcohol and adolescence. The Leaders chatted with a bilingual researcher about the importance of getting minorities involved in health research, both as investigators and as volunteers in clinical studies. The Jeter's Leaders have been making annual site visits to NIAAA since 2002.

"It is extremely important that our Jeter's Leaders are properly educated about the negative impact of alcohol abuse and alcoholism," said Turn 2 Foundation founder Derek Jeter. Jeter added, "The NIAAA and Turn 2 Foundation collaboration offers our Leaders the opportunity to learn about the unhealthy effects of alcohol and strategies to educate their peers and younger students."

Another major initiative of the Jeter's Leaders program is community service and social activism. In collaboration with HandsOn Greater DC Cares, the Leaders lent their time and services to The Arts and Technology Academy, a public charter school in Washington's seventh ward. Over two days, the Leaders helped to beautify the school's garden, provide mentoring services to the student population, assist in clerical work and provide necessary building support.

Following the project's completion, the Jeter's Leaders were recognized by the Dean of Students and staff from The Arts and Technology Academy and HandsOn Greater DC staff during a closing ceremony in the auditorium. Turn 2 Foundation president Sharlee Jeter presented the school with a $10,000 donation on behalf of Derek and the Jeter's Leaders.

On their last day in Washington, the Jeter's Leaders went to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building to hear from a panel of President Obama's key staff members. They presented Michael Strautmanis, Deputy Assistant to the President, with a signed Jeter's Leaders jersey for President Obama. Strautmanis shared professional guidance with the group and urged the high school students to continue to work hard in school and in their communities. Kyle Lierman from the Office of Public Engagement spoke to the Leaders about his job as White House liaison to the sports community and Ronnie Cho, associate director of the Office of Public Engagement talked about his role as White House Liaison to Young Americans. The discussion offered the Jeter's Leaders an opportunity to gain insight into a variety of careers that are directly related to their social change efforts. Following a discussion with the president's staff, the Leaders were escorted to the White House to explore the legendary residence that has hosted dignitaries, diplomats and world leaders.

The Jeter's Leaders visited the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art (NMAfA) on Friday afternoon. They were welcomed with an inspirational address by director of the museum, Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole. The NMAfA fosters the discovery and appreciation of the visual arts of Africa and humanity. The museum's collection of more than 10,000 objects represents nearly every area of the continent of Africa and contains a variety of media and art forms.

To cap off the week, Charles C. Stephenson Jr., co-author of "The Beat: Go-Go's Fusion of Funk and Hip Hop", was invited give a brief introduction to go-go, a genre of music that originated in Washington and blends the styles of funk, R&B and hip-hop to create a unique and distinct sound. Following Mr. Stephenson's remarks, the popular female go-go band Be'la Dona took the stage providing an exciting night of live entertainment as the Leaders had a chance to unwind, enjoy some ice cream and even show off their dance moves!

Visit our blog to read more about the trip.

2010 Jeter's Leaders Social Change Project
HandsOn New Orleans
July 25-31, 2010

  Photo gallery

Derek Jeter's Turn 2 Foundation, with the support of Delta Air Lines, brought 70 Jeter's Leaders from New York City and Kalamazoo, Mich., to participate in a community-service project in New Orleans. The Leaders worked with a local organization, HandsOn New Orleans, to rebuild areas impacted by Hurricane Katrina. They participated in an extensive, three-day service project at two community facilities in need of assistance.

During the first project day, the Jeter's Leaders worked outside to till soil, construct and install garden fixtures, plant flowers and shrubs, and build chess tables and chairs for the garden area at Pontchartrain Park Community Center. This effort helped to beautify the property and aimed to motivate the center's members to participate in the activities. Throughout the next two days, they worked at the NFL Youth Education Town Center at the local Boys & Girls Club and visited with youth that had been affected by the harsh conditions. The Leaders rehabilitated a baseball field by clearing the overgrown area and base paths. Inside the center, the Leaders painted a mural with motivational words to inspire youth to achieve their dreams. Picnic tables, trash vestibules, flower beds, chess tables and benches were also built and set up outside of the center.

Over the course of the week, the high school students from New York City and Kalamazoo learned about the city of New Orleans through tours and local activities. They explored the city's ambiance and met local youth leadership groups to strengthen their mission of promoting positive social change among their peers.

The Jeter's Leaders program was designed to promote healthy lifestyles, academic achievement, leadership development and social change activism among high school students. Jeter's Leaders serve as ambassadors for Derek Jeter in their communities and beyond. An important way the Jeter's Leaders exhibit leadership and accomplish social change is through their biannual summer Jeter's Leaders Leadership Conference. In summer 2011, the Leaders from New York City and Kalamazoo will host the conference attended by other youth leadership programs throughout the United States. The Jeter's Leaders create workshops based on topics they feel are affecting teens today.

Derek started the Turn 2 Foundation in 1996, his rookie year. Turn 2 has awarded more than $11 million in grants to create and support signature programs and activities that motivate young people to "Turn 2" healthy lifestyles. Through these ventures, the Foundation strives to create outlets for children to achieve academic excellence, develop leadership skills and remain drug and alcohol free. These programs all share the same goal of helping today's youth become the leaders of tomorrow.

After the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, and later, Hurricanes Rita and Gustav, HandsOn New Orleans made a major commitment to support the recovery efforts in the Gulf Coast through volunteer action. Since 2005, the organization has mobilized more than 17,200 volunteers in the effort to rebuild areas that were severely destructed by the storms. Five years after the tragedy, there is still a need for aid in New Orleans.

Since its launch in 1996, the Turn 2 Foundation has awarded more than $20 million to create and support signature programs that motivate young people to turn away from drugs and alcohol and "Turn 2" healthy lifestyles. Learn more »

Social Change Project
The Project is an event created to share one of the Foundation's principles with communities. Learn more »

Turn 2 Foundation Dinner
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