Jaylyn is a junior in high school whom I recently ran into. Of course, I see many students while I am out meeting with our mentors in the schools or the classroom where I mentor. However, running into Jaylyn was a special surprise. Jaylyn was a Teach One to Lead One (T1L1) student a few years ago. I had not seen her for a long time, as happens with most of our students once they move up in grades.
It was a delight listening to Jaylyn talk about her life. She soon started talking about her T1L1 mentors back in her elementary school. She spoke of Marc, Kevin, and Rachel. She warmed my heart when she talked about what we taught her and how she uses those life lessons today. Jaylyn said, “All of you helped shape my knowledge of right and wrong.” It was encouraging to hear how many things she remembered. She added, “It’s important to have people to talk to. Even though I have my mom and a few other people I can talk to, I liked having mentors who showed up in my classroom every week.”
When I asked Jaylyn if she was leading others now, she answered, “I share with my younger cousins how to do the right thing. I also try to guide others in my high school.” Kaylyn continued, “Knowing about integrity helped and still helps me make difficult decisions.” Then, with a tinge of sadness, she added, “So many students around me don’t understand integrity. They don’t make decisions with the knowledge of integrity.” I walked away from that encounter feeling extremely optimistic. I thought of thousands of T1L1 graduates like Jaylyn who are now influencing others wherever they go for the better.