Tag Archive

Is The Teen Toolbox Gone?

Published on January 29, 2014 By Nicki Sanders

Have you read these other blog posts?

  1. From Case Manager To Life Strategist
  2. Nicki, Queen of Planning
  3. Stop, Hiding Nicki


If you have read these blogs and you’re concerned that The Teen Toolbox will no longer exist, let me assure you that we have not turned our back on our youth.

The Teen Toolbox is now a division of Packaged For Success™. Under this division, you can still hire me to present life skills programs and services to teens and youth empowerment workshops to service providers and parents/foster parents. I will continue to raise awareness about the needs of teens in foster care and host our annual Pack A Purse™ and Pack A Backpack™ Drives.


Pack A Purse™ annual drive has collected over 2, 211 purses and donated them to thirty-eight organizations over seven December holiday seasons.

Pack A Backpack™ annual drive has collected over 256 backpacks and donated them to eleven organizations over two consecutive National Foster Care Month commemorations.

How Did You Get Hired?

Published on October 16, 2013 By Nicki Sanders

Today it is all about YOU! Understanding yourself better will always help you understand others better.


How did you get hired?


I want you to dig a little deeper than how you landed your current position.

What experiences, goals, values, opportunities, and skills helped you get hired?  Why did you apply for the position you have? What allowed you to outshine your competition?

How did you become an advocate, leader, teacher, mentor? How did you nurture your talents and skills?


Take a moment and think not only about how you excel but why you do what you do. What is your “next level”?

keep calm all about you

Nicki Sanders, Chief Visionary Officer of The Teen Toolbox, is a Life Skills Expert who uses her Packaged For Success™ programs to help clients set goals for life and create a road map to reach those goals. Ms. Sanders is an experienced case manager, trainer, and administrator. She offers professional development training for both youth and adults. Ms. Sanders holds a Master’s degree in Social Work and has fifteen years of direct experience with a diverse array of clients in residential, school-based, and community based agencies.

Join MARFY and Me

Published on October 7, 2013 By Nicki Sanders

Last year I facilitated a workshop titled “Packaged For Success: 5 Steps To Help Transition-Aged Youth Excel” at the 32nd Annual Maryland Association of Resources for Families and Youth (MARFY) Conference. I also served as Moderator for the youth panel.


This year I am assisting with the planning ad organizing of the first MARFY Youth Talk Show. This diverse group of young people are unbelievably caring, intelligent, resilient, and humorous. They are simply DYNAMIC! You don’t want to miss it.


Join me at the 33rd Annual MARFY Conference

Collaboration and Integration: How to Play in the New Sandbox

Wednesday, October 16, 2013 – Friday, October 18, 2013.

Clarion Resort Hotel, Ocean City, MD




I’m Living A Legacy

Published on September 18, 2013 By Nicki Sanders

I don’t generally write about the details of my personal life in this blog or on social media but I couldn’t shake the thoughts today. I’ve attended 4 funerals in 6 weeks. Five funerals in total this year. This is so foreign to me at this stage in my life. In the late 1980′s and early 1990′s I lost many young friends to gun violence. Those days are long over and I’ve come to expect people to live well into their 70′s, 80′s, and 90′s.


I lost my maternal grandmother a week ago which means I only have one grandparent left – my maternal grandfather. My maternal grandparents were married 64 years. I lost my paternal grandmother five years ago and my paternal grandfather a little over a year ago. I am grateful for the time I got to spend with each of my grandparents and know that I am truly blessed that my daughter also had the privilege of getting to know her great-grandparents.


Small Changes Can Have Big Results

Published on September 16, 2013 By Nicki Sanders

1. Begin Each Day In A Positive Way – The way you start your day has a powerful impact on how you end your day. Set your intention on having a good day. Things won’t always go as planned but you can better manage the roller coasters of life when you begin on a solid foundation.

  • Read, write, or speak a positive affirmation
  • Write in a journal
  • Write a statement of gratitude or achievement
  • Listen to your favorite/motivational/inspirational song
  • Visualize your dreams
  • Write your goals for the day
  • Meditate
  • Do yoga or exercise
  • Dance
  • Concentrate on your vision board
  • Read a chapter in a good book
  • Listen to positive affirmation or meditations


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


Call To Action From Etan Thomas

Published on June 17, 2013 By Nicki Sanders

I don’t think I’ve ever blogged about my religious views (I’m a Christian) but today I want to share the Father’s Day message that was presented at my church on yesterday.  Mr. Etan Thomas delivered a powerful “call to action” to adults challenging us to reach out to and embrace our youth.  Prior to yesterday, I had no idea that Etan Thomas is a husband, father, author, speaker, and community activist who played professionally in the National Basketball Association.  Etan was raised by his mother in a single parent home but never fell victim to the stereotypes and tragedies in his community.

Since releasing his second book,Fatherhood Rising To The Ultimate Challenge, last year, Etan has traveled the US empowering young people with the message that they can be anything they want to be in life despite their current circumstances.  He speaks in middle and high schools, colleges, prisons, and to professional and social justice organizations.