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High school is a turbulent time for many teens, but it is a vital time for development of self-esteem, self-identity, and that ever-omnipresent college application resume. Leadership exercises can help improve a student’s overall leadership skills, which can contribute to a higher self-confidence and more willingness to try new things—which can in turn be put on that college resume. Here are a few ways to help high school students reach their leadership potential:

Home Skills
KidLead provides ways to hone high schoolers’ leadership skills at home. Take this example. It involves the nightly meal at the dinner table, and allowing the youth to make important decisions:

Mealtime Leadership:
· You decide what we’re going to eat.
· Do we have the right ingredients? If not, how will you go about making sure we do?
· When will we be eating? You’ll need to check everyone’s schedule.
· Where will we eat?
· Who’s in charge of cooking?
· Who’s setting the table?
· Who’s in charge of clean-up?
· Who is going to be involved in the process: “the team”
· Who will do what, how, and by when?
· How did the team do in working together?
· Were the right people doing the right things?
· What did the leader do that was helpful?
· What could the leader do next time to be more effective?

This process can be applied to many other scenarios, such as cleaning or taking a car trip. More ideas can be found here:

Service Learning
Many states require service learning as a requirement to graduate from high school. Service learning is reported to improve overall classroom learning, can create feelings of camaraderie among students, and can help students uncover skills and interests previously unexplored. By encouraging students to participate in service learning, both the student and the organization benefit.

Unsure of where to start? Here are some national organizations that can direct you:

· Volunteer Match: Volunteer Match uses its search generator to pair you with an organization that inspires you. Organizations both large and small list opportunities on this service, which includes everything from volunteer interns to builders.

· American Red Cross: The Red Cross depends on volunteers for 96% of its workforce. The national Red Cross volunteer site can provide links and phone numbers for local branches, and can direct students’ efforts.

· Kiva: For students with a little extra change to spare, provides a unique micro lending experience. Kiva allows lenders to apply a small (we’re talking $10) amount of money towards a struggling small business in a developing country, providing valuable startup funds. The small business either succeeds and pays back the loan, or does not succeed and is not penalized for the loss.

· Habitat for Humanity: Working with others to build houses is prime time for leadership building. Add some wood, a few nails, and a family in need of a home, and you’ve got a win-win situation for everyone.

Class Officer Positions, sports teams, clubs, and other outside organizations
Teenagers in leadership positions might be seen as a recipe for disaster, but in reality they can be huge assets to any organization. While some organizations, like sports teams, Student Government Associations, or school-related clubs are for students only, community organizations are composed of people of all ages. Students can bring fresh ideas to all kinds of organizations, especially because of their fearlessness and untainted desire and drive. At the very least, the student can get an organization on Facebook and improve its internal/external communications. More than likely, though, the student will exhibit innovative and exciting ideas—leading to respect from the group of adults and an overall higher self-esteem.