Leadership and Scholarship Teens as Teachers: Initiate, Activate, Inspire!

The Teens As Teacher program is unique to the SDYF. It provides a powerful service-oriented, community-based learning experience for teenagers. The program provides opportunities for older youth to be teachers and mentors to younger students while earning a scholarship for post-secondary education.

Teen Teacher, Chesney

Teen Teacher, Chesney

"Our lessons gave the students a foundation to grow on as they mature and grow to become better people. By being a part of this program, it reminded us - teen teachers- how we should incorporate the lessons into our own lives and be good role models for the students."
- Chesney

Allison, Teen Teacher

Allison, Teen Teacher

This experience made me more conscious of my behavior. It reminded me that the younger kids are always looking up to me, so to always set a good example. It also reminded to practice healthy habits to keep myself and others safe and healthy.

Although I will not be working in education, I will be working with children. I will use the skills I learned from this experience to present topics and work with young people.

Clifton, Teen Teacher

Clifton, Teen Teacher

The Teen Teacher program has changed my life for the better and words cannot describe how grateful I am to be involved with this foundation. These past few years, I was fortunate enough to meet and connect with youth from my school. This was something that I once thought, as a middle schooler, was too scary to follow through with. However, this program has changed my perspective and has helped me figure out who I truly am. So, thank you for the scholarship and for creating something that has changed my life.

Initiate, Activate, Inspire

Recognizing that Teens may desire to participate as a Teen Teacher for more than one year, "levels" were developed to provide guidelines for a progression in the Teens As Teachers program.

Regardless of year of high school, the Teen Teachers will advance yearly within the program.

Year 1, Level 1: Initiate

Year 2, Level 2: Activate

Years 3 and 4, Level 3: Inspire

This progression recognizes the increased commitment and growth obtained and continues to reward effort and experience with scholarship opportunities.

Community Coaches/Advisers

Advisers/community coaches are a critical component in the success of this program. For Teens as Teachers to achieve their responsibilities, they will need support and mentoring from an adult. Teens should be guided but allowed autonomy to develop and implement their own ideas in lesson preparation and planning.


Paula, Community Coach

" I was thrilled to watch the teen teachers gain huge amounts of confidence by working through the lessons, adding their own ideas to the lessons, working as a team and practicing public speaking. In the end, we all witnessed the value of teen teachers presenting the character lessons to younger students and it left the elementary classrooms begging for more."

Youth Partner Organizations

Your local Student Leadership Organization is great place to start! Are you a member of FCCLA, Educators Rising, 4-H, Student Council or FFA? These and other Leadership Organizations can lead you to the Teens as Teachers experience. Contact the SD Youth Foundation or your local adviser to get started.