At New Smyrna Beach High School, Food Brings Hope sponsors Gabriele Hughes and Chelsae Zavala focused on building a community among the Teen Zone members. As in all of our participating schools, their primary goal was to provide academic assistance and a nutritious meal to students. But it was also important to Ms. Zavala and Ms. Hughes to instill a “can-do” attitude and a community spirit among their students to inspire them to succeed in life and give back to others.
The first hour of Teen Zone meetings, which during the 2012-2013 school year took place every other Wednesday, was dedicated to academics. This included tutoring and completing homework/classwork assignments. Students also used this first hour to visit other teachers to re-take summative assessments, or ask for work that was missed due to an absence. This extra hour for academics helped our students to bring up their grades and allowed for one-on-one time with a teacher or peer tutor.
The second hour of Teen Zone was dedicated to mealtime and activities. The group routinely worked with the culinary department to prepare healthy meals where they stressed the importance of well balanced diet. Students enjoyed the togetherness and companionship during meal time. As a community, they interacted socially and discussed current events or sharing personal difficulties. Students frequently participated in campus activities such as serving as teacher aids and contributing to school beautification.
The NSB High School Teen Zone participated in various Food Brings Hope special events in past years. They enjoyed the DSC Holiday Concert and dinner, which gave students and sponsors alike the holiday spirit. ERAU game night was also a hit with the students. Many had never been to a game and the words spoken by guest speaker Mr. Lochte, father and coach of Olympian Ryan Lochte, were a great inspiration. The special events gave students experiences that they might not otherwise be exposed to.
The Teen Zone members at New Smyrna Beach High School enjoyed their experience and the enrichment activities they participated in. The students and mentors have formed a bond that will last for years to come.