February 2021 Newsletter

Student Spotlight: Riley Branum, East Laurens High School, GA


Freshman JKL student, Riley Branum is a jocular and fearless leader who exudes positive energy and dedication.

Riley was fortunate enough to attend 1 of 2 high school campuses that offered JKL programming in hybrid format last fall! Once Riley learned about the elements of the JKL program, especially community service and gratitude, she was all in! Riley explained, “It’s nice to know we give back to our community, it is something I have been doing for long time and it’s very important to me”.

Upon entering high school, Riley had a lot of issues with anxiety and self-doubt. Riley has found a safe haven in the JKL program where she can share her creative passions and become a peer leader. “Riley loves deeply and cares for everyone. She is a great friend to others and is always there when needed. I am very proud of the young lady she is becoming”, said Ms. Hester.
The East Laurens JKL program just completed its first semester and has already made some successful strides. There was strong student engagement during a campus beautification project and a great mentoring collaboration with their local elementary school. First year programs with awesome students is a recipe for success!

We look forward to seeing Riley and the East Laurens JKL program thrive this semester.



JKL Students Connect with Nashville Predators Hockey Players


Students from JKL programs at Antioch and Maplewood high schools in Nashville recently had the opportunity to connect with two professional hockey players from their hometown Predators, Colton Sissons and Nick Cousins.

The players shared their goals for 2021 with students, which included staying healthy and of course winning the Stanley Cup! They also shared encouraging advice such as the importance of not letting yourself get too high or too low, showing up with a smile, and not being afraid to think big.

They talked with students about nutrition (both players have stepped up their home cooking game during the pandemic), exercise (Cousins shared that it makes him feel accomplished and release stress), and mental health (both enjoy taking walks outside to clear their head). We ended the Q&A session with a virtual Gratitude Circle, in which Sissons said he was grateful to teachers, which was especially poignant since we had our JKL Nashville teachers present as well!

We’re so grateful to the Predators for making time for this special treat for our students, especially considering their first game of the season is just days away.



JKL Students Inspired by Microsoft’s Women in Technology Career Panel



JKL students got the chance to participate in a private “Women in Technology” Career Panel put on especially for them courtesy of Microsoft.

Students really enjoyed this special opportunity to hear and connect with each panelist (executives from several different sectors of the company) as they shared their unique career journeys leading to Microsoft. Students had the chance to hear about the women’s backstories as well as participate in a Q&A session.

There were some key words of wisdom shared at the event such as, “The sky is not the limit, it is the view,” “You’ll miss 100 % of the shots that you don’t take,” and “Know your worth.” Sidney, JKL student from Carver High School said, “I’m so happy to have had the opportunity to hear from such powerful women in technology tonight. I wanted to thank you for such wonderful inspiration!” Microsoft even followed up the session by providing our students with free links to their Computer Science Education Week Workshops including sessions on coding and gaming.

We’re grateful we could provide our students with such a unique and practical opportunity thanks to Microsoft!



JKL Student Wins Prestigious College Scholarship



Shia Wade, a JKL Senior at Venice High School, was recently awarded a full college scholarship to Hobart & William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York, from the Posse Foundation!

This respected organization finds students who might be missed by the traditional admissions criteria at highly selective schools but who can excel on campus. This year, over 2,300 of Posse Los Angeles’s finest youth leaders were nominated for Posse Scholarships and only a small group of students were chosen as Finalists.

We’re thrilled for Shia, who, as a Posse Foundation Scholar, will also receive pre-collegiate training – workshops that help Scholars develop as leaders before they matriculate at college. She plans on majoring in Writing. We’re so proud of Shia for sticking with the 4 month interview process!



Camila’s Tips: Crispy Zucchini Fries



Thought guilt-free fries were a myth? Skip the greasy fingers but get all the satisfaction with these oil-free low carb crispy zucchini fries. These fries by Every Last Bite are a snacking dream! Crunchy on the outside and deliciously warm and soft in the middle, you would never guess these zucchini fries are healthy! Put away the sugary ketchup and serve these zucchini fries with a deliciously fresh garlic and herb dipping sauce which is rich in protein and calcium.

• 2 large zucchini
• 1 tbsp gluten free flour
• pinch of salt and pepper
• 1 egg
• 2 tbsp skim milk (or almond milk)
• 1/2 cup gluten free bread crumbs
• 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
• 1/4 tsp garlic salt
• 1 tsp mixed herbs

• 1/3 cup nonfat Greek Yogurt
• 1/2 clove garlic
• 1 tbsp chopped chives
• 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
• 1/4 tsp salt
• 1/4 tsp pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Wash the zucchini and cut in slices approximately 1/2 an inch in thickness. Place the zucchini sticks in a Ziploc bag along with the flour, salt and pepper. Seal the bag and shake well until all sides of the zucchini sticks are lightly coated in flour. In a bowl whisk together the egg and milk. In another bowl mix together the breadcrumbs, parmesan, herbs and spices. Working in batches of 2sticks at a time, dip the zucchini in the egg and then dredge in the dry mixture so that all sides are well coated and then place on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining zucchini sticks. Bake the zucchini in the oven for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through to ensure they are evenly crisp and golden. Stir together all of the ingredient for the dipping sauce and serve alongside the warm zucchini fries.

Enjoy! Beijos
– Camila

Full recipe on Women of Today »



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