TiLT Volunteer Spotlight: Kenan Bridges
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To highlight our Teens in Leadership Training (TiLT) program, we’re spotlighting some of our current and former volunteers, learning about their involvement in the program, and seeing how their experience has continued to impact them. Brunswick County 4-H TiLT youth volunteer teaching program trains youth volunteers ages 13-18, to deliver in-school, after-school, and summer programs that teach healthy living, STEM, good stewardship, and environmental awareness of the resources in Brunswick County. See our 4-H Teens in Leadership Training page for more information about the program.
When did you serve in TiLT?
What is your favorite memory from serving as a TiLT volunteer?
I remember always going on so many adventures and we were always outside. My favorite memory would be when we took an overnight trip to the NC Zoo over the summer and explored the Zoo after hours. I think this was for summer fun. We got to feed the giraffes and that was an experience that I had never had before. 4-H gave so many opportunities for me to try new things, whether it was presenting at district events, or exploring areas of the county I had never seen before. Our 4-H Agents, PA’s, and Volunteers, always made our activities really exciting and fun. Looking back on this, I see the huge impact that it had on me. 4-H gave me a safe space to be myself, explore my interests, and try new things that I would have otherwise never tried. Oh, and I have to give a BIG shoutout to Aunt Angie and Diss Dina. They are my 4-H! They are the first faces that come to mind when I am asked about my experiences as a 4-H’er. I know that I could always talk, or sing, and they would listen.
How did volunteering with TiLT help you when choosing a college or career path?
I didn’t realize the impact of 4-H on my career path until I was already in college. I knew that I wanted to pursue a career as a dentist. But that changed around my junior year at East Carolina University when I was taking a Health Disparities class. It was around that time that I was notified by Angie that a program she had created with our TiLT team had become a nationally recognized 4-H curriculum called Be a Bone Builder. Finally, I put the pieces together and recognized that 4-H had initiated a spark in me that I didn’t even know existed. That spark is my passion for health education and promotion. It was something that I was doing as a TiLT volunteer and it is something that led me to a degree in Public Health with a concentration in Community Health.
Fast forward to a year after graduation and I found myself in search of employment. I found my way back to Brunswick County 4-H as a program assistant for the Empowering Youth and Families Program working alongside… guess who… Diss Dina and Aunt Angie! I found an opportunity to work with two incredible people who played such an important role in my life! It was a full circle moment. After working as a program assistant for about a year, I had an opportunity to advance in my position and become the NC 4-H Healthy Living Coordinator. Now, I support 4-H health education programs, like those I participated in with TiLT, at a state level! I see now that TiLT played such a valuable role developing my interests and helped steer me in the right path.
What is one other way TiLT has helped you? (Ex: public speaking, making friends, learned something new, etc.)
TiLT helped me make friends, be social, learn how to speak to a variety of audiences, be okay with trying new things. I see so many professional qualities that TiLT helped me with too. When working with community partners, I learned how to respect others and be conscious of the environment that I am in. We were often teaching in schools, so I learned how to educate others. As a member now of the NC 4-H State Office, I see the great example that Brunswick County 4-H sets in the world of Extension 4-H. Because of my high-quality experience in Brunswick County, I can use this as an example when advocating for successful and sustainable teen volunteer programs. Brunswick County has a very thorough and sustainable model for teen-led programs.
TiLT Youth Volunteer Program
Interested in learning more about the TiLT Youth Volunteer Program? Contact Morgan King, 4-H Youth Development Extension Agent, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or Angie Lawrence, 4-H EFNEP Nutrition Educator, by emailing email@example.com. To reach us by phone, call 910.253.2610.