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The Teen Toolbox 2013 Accomplishments & Achievements

Published on January 1, 2014 By Nicki Sanders

Hello 2014!  I welcome you with open arms…Packaged for Success and prepared for an extraordinary year!

Here is a look back at 2013 with The Teen Toolbox!


SPOTLIGHT Teen of the Month

  • Manuella
  • Nick
  • Leroy
  • Tony
  • Jahlika
  • Jordan
  • Amber



  • National Executive Youth Leadership Summit
  • On Purpose Networking for Women
  • 33nd Annual MARFY Conference
  • Imagine Foundations at Leeland Public Charter School
  • The Youth Empowerment Telesummit
  • Trinity Washington University
  • Challengers Independent Living Program
  • Glory Soldiers Global



  • Maryland Association of Resources for Families & Youth
  • Coalition of Adoption Programs, Inc.
  • The Maids of Maryland
  • Glory Soldiers Global
  • National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc. Prince George’s County Maryland Chapter
  • Watkins Hornets Youth Association
  • Prince George’s Community College student organizations


Supporting Our Community/Exploring Our World

  • 2nd Annual Pack A Backpack Drive
  • 7th Annual Pack A Purse Drive

These Teens Rock

Published on December 23, 2013 By Nicki Sanders

The Teen Toolbox eliminates negative stereotypes of teens in foster care with our SPOTLIGHT Teen of the Month recognition. Our SPOTLIGHT Teen of the Month award recognizes a youth (14-21) in the foster care system that is leading a life of promise and making a positive impact in his or her community.


SPOTLIGHT Teen of the Month nominations are accepted on a continuous basis. #STOTM

SPOTLIGHTTeen of the Month 2013


Nicki Sanders, MSW, Chief Visionary Officer
The Teen Toolbox utilizes youth portfolio development and civic engagement and academic empowerment strategies to help teens set goals for life after high school and create a road map to reach those goals through its PACKAGED FOR SUCCESS™ Programs. We are committed to supporting and raising awareness about the needs and potential of teenagers in the foster care system.

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Published on November 25, 2013 By Nicki Sanders

Amber S. exited the Florida foster care system two years ago. Her interests include art, music, crime scene investigation shows. She is a fan of hip hop, rap, R&B and gospel music.


Other people describe Amber as being shy and always staying to herself. She describes herself as being a good listener, and good at math and a good problem solver. She is a giver who loves to help others with their problems and her math skills come in handy as she sets a budget for herself.


Amber’s favorite TV shows are Criminal Minds and Supernatural. She graduated high school early by obtaining her GED and plans to attend college and pursue a Master’s degree in criminal justice, specializing in crime scene investigations. Watching law enforcement shows on TV and research on the crime scene industry has led Amber to her career goal to become a crime scene investigator.


They Found It Early

Published on September 30, 2013 By Nicki Sanders

Last night I watched the finale on Rachel vs Guy Kids Cook Off on The Food Network. Eight young chefs competed for a title and their own webs series on FoodNetwork.com. Ten year old Brandon was the winner.  These kids really made some really complex dishes.Although I did not see the three prior episodes in the series, I was very impressed with the skills, commitment, and love of learning each child possessed. They also did very well under pressure. (#RvGKids)


There were three things that I really appreciated about the show:

  1. Each child was accompanied by at least one parent. The parents were available and supportive.
  2. The parents helped their children recognize their talents and gifts early in life and then nurtured those gifts.
  3. The young contestants were a part of a team and mentored by experienced, compassionate chefs (Rachel Ray and Guy Fieri)



Published on September 23, 2013 By Nicki Sanders

Jahlika is a 19 year old college student in New York determined never to let her past trauma or life circumstances define her. She has a strong work history and the goal of becoming a nurse.  Jahlika was recently awarded a hospital internship in conjunction with New Yorkers for Children.  Jahlika was selected for this prestigious opportunity from a pool of many candidates and received a certificate of achievement at the end of the program.  Because of her strong work ethic, Jahlika was then offered a paid internship.   


Jahlika’s wonderful personality, hard work, and perseverance to achieve a better future earned her an invitation to attend New Yorkers for Children Annual Gala. She was given an opportunity to wear a designer dress and shoes. She also had the opportunity to have her hair and professionally done.


Hey Teens, You Can Nominate Yourself

Published on September 13, 2013 By Nicki Sanders

Sometimes you have to toot your own horn! YOU can nominate yourself for SPOTLIGHT Teen of the Month. Our SPOTLIGHT Teen of the Month award recognizes a youth (14-21) in the foster care system that is leading a life of promise and making a positive impact in his or her community.


Here are 5 reasons why you might want to nominate yourself for SPOTLIGHT Teen of the Month:

  1. Drop the labels that may have been placed on you.
  2. Understand the difference between bragging and self-promotion.
  3. Celebrate your accomplishments.
  4. Express your achievements.
  5. Be a positive role model and advocate for teens in foster care.


SPOTLIGHT Teen of the Month honorees will receive:

  • Recognition on The Teen Toolbox website and social media pages
  • A feature in The Teen Toolbox blog dedicated to their accomplishments
  • A special letter of recognition from our Chief Visionary Officer
  • A certificate of achievement
  • A youth empowerment affirmation
  • A motivational book for teens


Foster Care News: Youth Helping Youth

Published on September 6, 2013 By Nicki Sanders

Check out these great stories of youth helping youth in foster care.


Because of his experience in the system, Tim Dennis is on a mission to recruit adults who will support teens in the foster care system by becoming either foster parents or mentors. Dennis is now a Maryville College freshman who dreams of becoming a mental health nurse.
Read more here.


Middle school girls from Johnson County came away from this year’s Odyssey of the Mind World Finals honored as Odyssey Angels — creating an impressive real-world community service project. The girls launched their Odyssey of the Mind community service project — an Odyssey Angels project — to donate and decorate 100 canvas bags and fill with socks and underwear for 100 foster kids. They have already made and donated 300 blankets to kids in care.
Read more here.


Related Post: SPOTLIGHT on Tony