Inside USD

Program Helps Youth Blaze Trail to Success

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Finding success in the world has never been easy but competition for college admissions, a tough job market and a global economy are making it even more challenging for today’s youth.

A group of 26 local teens however, feels more confident about their opportunities following their participation in a University of San Diego Trailblazer 2 ChangeMaker program held last week on campus.

Offered by the university’s Division of Professional and Continuing Education, the five-day program introduced students to the skill sets needed to enhance personal, academic and overall life success.

The goal of the program is helping students walk away “knowing that they hold the key to unlocking their success in life,” said program instructor Dr. Jackie Freiberg, a USD graduate, best-selling author and leadership expert who also teaches in the university’s School of Leadership and Education Sciences.

“These skills are not being taught in high school and are a great complement to the academic skills students learn in the classroom,” added instructor Dr. Lisa Gates, chair of the department of Communication at San Diego Christian College who also teaches at San Diego State University and is a communicaton and leadership specialist at UCSD.

Fun and creative activities in leadership, communication and money management skills included viewing a USD Changemaker video, watching the documentary “Miss Representation” on how the media’s misrepresentations of women have led to the underrepresentation of women in positions of power and influence, and creating and presenting highly personalized resumes to help teens symbolize and visualize themselves as “changemakers.”

On Friday, students who hugged and high-fived each other, stood up in front of a crowd that included their parents and talked about their goals for the future and a life experience that had changed them. Some talked about life-changing experiences such as helping a homeless person or overcoming a fear of succeeding in math after negative comments from a teacher.

Logan Steward, who talked about his love of motorcyles and his dream of working to make them “faster and more fun to ride,” said the week helped him build a stronger foundation to become a leader and achieve his goals. It’s the difference between “building something on dirt and building it on cement,” said Steward, (pictured top, far right), who will be a freshman at Escondido Charter High School this fall.

For more information about the program go to

— Liz Harman

Upper photo: Joshua Antorietto, Andre Mallie, Connor Uetz  and Logan Steward

At right: Tyana Cullen

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