Senior Sam Smith has applied this quote to her life and to the mission statement for the program she founded called Project Push. She believes that she, and every other person in the world can, and should discover their personal leadership qualities and use them to do extraordinary things.
Sam was inspired to start Project Push after attending Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Program (HOBY) her sophomore year. “This weekend is intended to help high school students expand in their leadership skills,” said Sam. “I realized how fortunate I was to have this experience and that not all kids were offered the same kinds of opportunities. This made me want to do something.”
Sam started to brainstorm how she could get her ambitious ideas into action and begin to reach out to teenagers across the state. She chose two of her fellow BT students whom she believed possessed the qualities she wanted to portray in her workshops and began Project Push. “Project Push is a kind of leadership workshop. We share stories, do personality tests, watch videos, listen to speeches, and discuss weaknesses with each other,” said Sam.
Each workshop begins with the participants taking a personality test to help assess where their strengths and weaknesses lie. They then work together in a group activity to help them understand how they can utilize their strengths together to balance out their weaknesses. Videos and discussion are the presented to help lead to their understanding of how to use what they have learned and apply to what they are passionate about. “We use many stories and examples throughout the workshop to epitomize how they can recognize what they are learning in the workshops within their own lives. With this knowledge, they can apply what they have learned to their passions,” said Sam.
Project push launched its first public marketing appearance during the National Charity League (NCL), of which Sam is a member, meeting for the younger members of her chapter. One of the pillars of NCL is leadership, so the presentation of a leadership conference was a perfect fit for the meeting. “The presentation went very well,” said Sam. “One mom came up to me after and asked to present it at her school where she teaches.”
Project Push’s next big presentation will be at the annual Habitat Youth Leadership Conference. Sam hopes to get more publicity and expand her project as this conference brings people from all over the country.
Creating Project Push has helped Sam appreciate the use of marketing. “I really have a greater appreciation for everything I am involved in and how helpful they have been with marketing,” said Sam. “It is great to know that the community I grew up in has my back with this and is willing to help.”
Project Push has the goal of helping all students realize they are able to be leaders. The workshops are very versatile and can be altered easily toward a specific group. “Teens are the ones who run the workshops because they are the ones that the students will listen to,” said Sam. “My goal is to have other people take over Project Push because eventually I will not be a teen.”
Sam hopes that through Project Push everyone can have the opportunity to discover the leader within themselves. “Everyone has some sort of quality to be a leader,” said Sam. “If you discover those qualities, you can apply them to your passions and do something extraordinary.”