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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.

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.

2017 Jeter's Leaders Social Change Project
New Orleans, La.
July 31-Aug. 4, 2017

 Watch: Video recap
  Photo gallery

More than 100 high school students from the Turn 2 Foundation's signature Jeter's Leaders program traveled to New Orleans to help make a difference in the community as part of their 2017 Social Change Project.

The week-long initiative culminated with a service project at Einstein Charter School -- in partnership with Goldman Sachs Community TeamWorks -- where the Leaders spent the day painting offices, classrooms and the school's theater, and also built trophy cases. These improvements will be enjoyed by 600 high school and middle school students ranging from sixth through 10th grade. The Turn 2 Foundation also presented a $10,000 donation to Einstein Charter School.

"The importance of creating positive social change is something we work hard to instill in the young people in our programs," said Derek Jeter, founder of the Turn 2 Foundation. "Through their Social Change Project, our Jeter's Leaders have an opportunity to give back and make a real positive impact that hopefully inspires and empowers their peers to do the same. These students have done an incredible job this week, and I am so proud of their commitment to making a difference."

This year's Social Change Project kicked off on Monday, July 31. Throughout the week, the Jeter's Leaders had the special opportunity to explore the rich culture of New Orleans and also participate in various activities, from crafting festive masquerade masks, to participating in cooking classes and more. The students also discussed topics to present at the 2018 Jeter's Leaders Leadership Conference -- a national conference that brings together youth leaders from across the country for discussions about social change.

On Aug. 3, the Leaders capped off the week with college tours to Tulane University, Dillard University and Xavier University, where they explored the campuses and experienced college life.

"It is crucial for young people to understand the social issues affecting our society, and how they can do their part to make the world a better place," said Sharlee Jeter, president of the Turn 2 Foundation. "The Social Change Project not only educates our Jeter's Leaders on the importance of giving back, but also allows these students to gain a hands-on experience working together to have a positive impact across the country. I am so proud of our Leaders this week, and their commitment, enthusiasm and passion for serving as agents of social change."

Turn 2 coordinated this year's community service project with HandsOn, an organization committed to engaging, empowering and transforming New Orleans communities through volunteer services. The Foundation first worked with HandsOn at its 2010 Social Change Project in New Orleans. The service project also partnered with Goldman Sachs Community TeamWorks, the firm's volunteer program through which the people of Goldman Sachs contribute their ideas and expertise to drive tangible progress in communities where they work and live.

"This is our second time hosting the Turn 2 Foundation, and HandsOn is excited to strengthen our partnership," said Chris Cameron, HandsOn New Orleans executive director. "With over 100 volunteers in one day, our combined efforts will result in a dramatic school transformation that promotes a positive learning environment for our future leaders. We are grateful to be a part of such a meaningful movement that promotes academic excellence and healthy lifestyle choices."

"We value our partnership with HandsOn New Orleans, as well as the great work of the Turn 2 Foundation," said Shawn Toranto, chief executive officer of Einstein Charter Schools. "Einstein and HandsOn understand how the conditions and aesthetics of the school facility play a role in the productivity of our students, and we are grateful for all of the work the Turn 2 Foundation is doing."

The Jeter's Leaders Social Change Project brings members of the Jeter's Leaders program to cities across the country where they work to make a positive impact on the communities they visit. Jeter's Leaders is a four-year program that fosters academic achievement, positive behavior, healthy lifestyles, leadership development and social change among high school students in New York and West Michigan who serve as ambassadors for Derek in their communities.

2015 Jeter's Leaders Social Change Project
Albany, N.Y.
Aug. 3-6, 2015

 Watch: Video recap
  Photo gallery

Former New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter joined more than 100 high school students from the Jeter’s Leaders program -- the signature initiative of the Turn 2 Foundation -- as part of its 2015 Social Change Project at Siena College in Albany in early August.

On Monday, Aug. 3, students toured the campus of Siena College, before participating in the Jeter’s Leaders Community Service Project at the Patroon Land Farm, which was made possible through a partnership with Goldman Sachs. There, they joined with members of Goldman Sachs CommunityTeamWorks, and together had a chance to learn about agriculture; harvest fresh produce; wash and pack vegetables; and assemble boxes that will be delivered to food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters. Community TeamWorks is Goldman Sachs' global volunteer initiative that enables its people to drive tangible progress in their communities. From the farm, the Leaders traveled to nearby Camp Lovejoy, where they spent time mentoring young campers and teaching important life lessons through group activities and discussions.

"We are honored the Turn 2 Foundation selected the Regional Food Bank's Patroon Land Farm for the Jeter’s Leaders Community Service Project,” said Mark Quandt, executive director of the Regional Food Bank. “Their hard work has ensured hungry children and families will have access to fresh, nutritious food. We are very impressed with the quality of the Jeter's Leaders program and the young people who are part of it, and truly enjoyed being their hosts for a day."

“Our Jeter’s Leaders are outstanding examples of the remarkable things young people can accomplish through their own initiative when we step back and give them a chance to step up,” said Sharlee Jeter, president of the Turn 2 Foundation. “We are so proud of the way they represent themselves, the Turn 2 Foundation and young people across the country.”

The Jeter’s Leaders spent Tuesday attending educational seminars and interactive workshops about bullying and cyberbullying, and learned effective tactics for proactively combating the epidemic currently affecting millions of students each year. The Leaders also received instruction in the use of STOP!T, an anti-cyberbullying platform and mobile app that launched a partnership with the Turn 2 Foundation in June.

Jeter capped off the afternoon by attending a special barbecue with the Jeter’s Leaders, where he had the opportunity to interact with them one-on-one.

“Social change has become a cornerstone of the Turn 2 Foundation, and our Jeter’s Leaders have demonstrated that young people not only understand the key issues affecting our society but are willing and able to address those challenges head-on,” said Derek Jeter. “I am inspired by our Jeter’s Leaders and their peers who are working hard every day to make the world a better place."

The Social Change Project continued Wednesday, Aug. 5, with a visit to the New York State Capitol. The Jeter’s Leaders toured the Capitol building and New York State Museum, and had an opportunity to speak with New York State Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer in the Legislative Chamber.

The Jeter’s Leaders Social Change Project brings members of the Jeter’s Leaders program to cities across the country where they work to make a positive impact on the communities they visit. Jeter’s Leaders is a four-year program that fosters academic achievement, positive behavior, healthy lifestyles, leadership development and social change among high school students in New York and West Michigan who serve as ambassadors for Derek in their communities.

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

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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
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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

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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 $23 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 »

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