The Travelers Foundation awarded HPL with a $50,000 grant that will provide continued funding to the Teen Leader Initiative. We began this Initiative to provide teens a basic understanding of what is needed to achieve success in both their academic and working careers. The Initiative has been in existence for nineteen years, funded primarily by Travelers in the past five years. With a strong emphasis on critical thinking, problem-solving, learning, communication and collaboration, technology and information literacy, life and career, and personal and social responsibility, teens become firmly grounded in 21st century skills.

“Travelers is committed to providing the tools and opportunities young people need to succeed,” said Tara N. Spain, Vice President of the Travelers Foundation. “The Teen Leader Initiative is a great model for building future leaders out of today’s youth.”

This year’s Teen Leader Initiative will have an emphasis on information literacy and technology, preparing ten Hartford teens for education and careers in a digital world.  Activities will align with common core curriculum and quickly evolving digital trends, increasing their ability to navigate a world where mastery of technology skills is essential.

Teens will create information guides for online resources to share with Homework Club students during peer-to-peer tutoring.  As part of their final project, teens will interview local businesses, identify and address a real-life information need, learn the value of accurate information and contribute to economic stability.  “As the teens learn, so will their communities, and both will be enriched” said Matthew K. Poland, chief executive officer at Hartford Public Library.

The Teen Leader Initiative can significantly change the lives of a small group of teens while impacting countless Hartford youth under their tutelage.  It supports the goals of Hartford Public Schools, increasing achievement and building college readiness.  The teens are transformed by strong mentorship, skill acquisition, and goal-setting opportunities, yielding an increase in college-bound graduates and a prepared future workforce.

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