Hannah Iozzia personalizes one of the walls at the CanTeen’s new home, located at 6046 Route 31, Cicero, next to Cicero-North Syracuse High School.
Photo by Sarah Hall.
continued “We said, we’ll just wing it,” Brauchle said. “So from Thanksgiving until about a month ago, we were going on field trips probably once or twice a week and meeting with the kids to do things with, like, Reality Check from Prevention Network and that kind of stuff… They really enjoyed going to the movies. We had probably 20 kids who knew Thursday was field trip day. We bought a ton of movie passes and they’d have some time before to hang around the mall and they’d go to the movie and then they’d have a little time after and their parents would come and pick them up. We also went bowling, and we went to ShoppingTown and had a pregnancy prevention discussion around the latest ‘Twilight’ movie. We worked with Reality Check and did a couple of human billboards out here. We just got real creative with the things that we could do with kids.”
In addition, Brauchle involved the kids in the process of interviewing potential staffers. While the new building was being renovated, the CanTeen was also looking for two part-time counselors. Brauchle tasked nine teens with helping her come up with questions and interviewing possible candidates.
“They set about interviewing about 20 people who applied for the part-time positions that we had. They seriously went through 20 interviews,” she said. “They did such an awesome job, and they wound up with the two people who would have worked out the best. They know what they’re looking for, and they’re very good at weeding out the people who are just looking for a job or who think they’re youth-friendly but maybe aren’t so much.”
Brauchle said that small CanTeen staff, as well as the peers kids interact with there daily, help teens develop necessary relationship skills that they might not develop elsewhere.