2016 Summer Opportunities for Teens

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Start thinking about your summer plans now. Various places in Jacksonville and surrounding areas are taking applications and they usually have to be submitted soon. There are lots of opportunities out there for teens to gain valuable experiences depending on their interests. If you don’t see something that interests you but know of an organization you would like to get involved in just call them up and ask if they have any opportunities available. Using your time wisely over the summer can greatly benefit students when applying to colleges and universities. Admissions are looking for individuals who have been active in their community.

Benefits of Community Service for Teens

Develop a sense of social responsibility

Exposure to diversity and multiculturalism.

Builds relationships and network with peers, adults, and others.

Improves communication and critical thinking skills.

Stand out among other applicants at a college or university

Discover passions and interests that lead to a career choice

Use the links below to discover local opportunities for teens 

Medical Field (volunteer)

UF Health
Baptist Health
American Red Cross

Animals (volunteer)

Jacksonville Zoo
Jacksonville Humane Society

The Arts (camp/ course)

Florida Film Academy at Flagler College
UNF Summer Music Camp for Middle and High School Students

STEM (camp/ course/ internship)

UNF Summer Tech Camps for Kids and Teens
(MOSH) Museum of Science and History Teen Internship Program


Summer Jobs for Teens

 Melanie Black of Student Futures is a certified academic life coach for students and teens. She has a passion to help students succeed. Academic coaching helps develop life skills for students as well as gives them academic strategies, which help to decrease anxiety and stress in students. Contact Melanie Black today for a free consultation at or (904) 487-8269.

Teen Leadership & Community Involvement


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Leadership skills are critical to success! Teens need to be empowered with leadership skills so that they can be successful in the future. Excellent communication skills in the form of listening, speaking, and body language along with many other things make a great leader . Are these skills inherent or learned? Some people say one is a “born leader.” This statement suggests that other people are “born followers.” Leadership is not a trait that you are born with, but rather a set of skills learned over time. Think about athletes. Is one born with all the skills needed to be a professional athlete? No. In order to be an excellent leader you must learn the skills needed for such an important role. “Practice makes perfect” is what I have always heard and found to be true. Teens need opportunities to practice leadership skills. Community involvement is the perfect way to exercise those skills and become an empowered leader of the future.

There are so many ways that teens can get involved in the community. For more information click here to read my post, Volunteering for Teens: Resources and Benefits. The rewards of community involvement are endless. Middle and high school students who are actively involved in the community reap the benefits such as networking with local professionals and organizations, scholarship opportunities, gaining community service hours, practicing those much needed leadership skills for future jobs, increased self esteem and confidence, and more.

In Jacksonville, FL and surrounding areas there are such a wealth of opportunities to be involved in the community that it is hard to choose or even know where to start. How do you start? Know your passion! To start ask yourself a few questions:

1. What interests me?

2. What do I like to do?

3. What kind of career interests me?

Ok, now start researching using some of the resources listed in my post, Volunteering for Teens: Resources and Benefits. Inquire at your school and nearby schools about opportunities.

Have a great idea? Start your own community project! You do not have to an adult to start your own project. It can be as simple as collecting canned goods in your neighborhood or getting a few friends and cleaning up a local park or other area of the community. Give your project a title and spread the word! Start taking action and become an amazing leader. You can make a difference!

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Student Futures coach, Melanie Black, believes strongly in helping her community. She will be volunteering at the Generation WOW Conference at UNF November 5th. Learn more about how the conference helps teen girls by clicking here. Also, November is National Alzheimers Disease Awareness Month and as she does every year, Melanie Black will be participating in the Walk to End Alzheimers on November 8th as it is a cause close to her heart. Finally, November 6th Melanie will be participating in the Light the Night Walk to raise money and awareness for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Student Futures helps students develop leadership skills through academic coaching. We give students strategies to increase self-efficacy, self-motivation, and self discipline. Contact us today for a free consultation. Click here to learn more about academic coaching and how we are helping students in Jacksonville and surrounding areas.



Networking for Students: The Keys to Success

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What is networking?

Have you ever heard: “It’s not what you know but who you know.”

Networking is simply the act of interacting with other people to exchange information and acquire contacts, especially to further one’s career or improve one’s business. – Google

“The process of developing and using your contacts to increase your business, enhance your knowledge, expand your sphere of influence or serve your community.” – Entrepreneur

You already have a network of people and you may not realize it. Your existing network consists family, friends, professors, neighbors, classmates, etc.

Do I have to?

Yes! I know that networking sounds scary, but it is necessary for your future. If you want grab a friend and attend an event together. Companies are using internal referrals to hire people. Don’t wait until graduation. Start now! Start in your comfort zone by talking with people in your existing network. Networking will help you make the connections that will get you an internship or job in the future.

Where do I go?

Start out in your comfort zone by attending an event at your school or church. Then, start researching to find other local networking events. Bring a friend! There are tons of opportunities for networking in Jacksonville.

Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce – Their events page lists several events in town where you could meet various professionals.

Building Bridges for Women in Business – They have a networking luncheon every month at Black Finn in the Town Center. Men and women are welcome. Explore the college page of their website.

Eventbrite – Has lots of different events in Jacksonville where you could do some networking.

Hands on Jax – Volunteering is a great way to build your network! Look at Hands on Jax for volunteer opportunities where you could meet lots of great people.

MeetUp – There are so many networking groups on this website from which to choose.

What do I need?

Business cards! Whether you are a senior in high school or in college you should have a business card.  Professionals always carry them and when you attend any event or meet someone randomly it is great to be able to hand them your card and vice versa. It is recommended that you carry at least five in your wallet at all times. You never know who you will meet! When you are going to a networking event, you definitely want to carry more. On you card you do not need a lot of info. Click here to find examples of what your business card should look like. First In Print is a local business, which can help you with all your printing needs and even graphic design if needed. They do great work and their business cards are affordable. Click here to visit their website.

What about social networking?

Social networking is also important. Make a LinkedIn account if you have not already. Click here to make your account. LinkedIn is a must, especially because hiring professionals are searching for your LinkedIn profile before considering you for a position. Pick a professional photo for your profile. Complete your profile and actively use the LinkedIn. Comment on articles and connect with people. It is a great resource.

Use Twitter as well and BE PROFESSIONAL about what you post.  Put your Twitter handle on your business card. Also, you will want to purchase a URL for yourself. Example:, Hiring professionals are looking for your personal URL. Design your website and create a page with your bio, resume, etc. If you already have a blog or website with a URL that’s great! Make sure and include a personal URL on your business card.

What do I say to people?

Be confident! Compliments are a great conversation starter

You will need to develop an elevator pitch, which is a short speech about yourself. Write it out beforehand and practice saying it over and over. If it takes you longer than 60 seconds to say it is too long. Lear exactly how to word your elevator pitch by clicking here for detailed instructions and guidance.

When you are talking to other people don’t only talk about yourself. Ask the other person questions. For example: How did you get started with your business or career?

No worries!

Sometimes networking may not go as planned or as you hoped. The more events you go to and the more people you talk to the better you will get at networking. You never know who you will meet that might take you to that next level.

Follow Up

If someone you spoke to gave you great advice or even a number to call follow up with a phone call or e-mail saying thank you, etc.

Quick Tip

Use the Evernote app on your phone to scan people’s business cards and you can automatically upload their info to your contacts in your phone. This way you won’t have tons of business cards that you are trying to hold on to and sort through. You can create groups if needed for your contacts. For example, doctors, lawyers, real estate agents, etc.

 Are you ready?

Get out there and start networking. If you need help with all of this and just can’t figure out how to get started contact Student Futures today for a FREE academic coaching consultation. An academic coach can help you with career planning, goal setting, and/ or managing your time. We want to help you on your road to success.



Volunteering for Teens: Resources and Benefits

Every year teens look for volunteer opportunities whether it is to complete required community hours for high school or just to get involved in a cause they believe in. Why should anyone volunteer? Simply, volunteering is good for you. It is good for your heart and soul. According to Teen Life, there are many personal benefits to community service too such as career benefits, college admission benefits, meeting new people and building relationships, improves communication and critical thinking skills, and there are opportunities to apply academic learning to real human needs. I have talked to many teens who think they are too young to make a difference. ANYONE can make a difference! Teens, you have the ability to help others in more ways than you can imagine.

Our local community here in Jacksonville, Florida has a constant need for volunteers. If you are still looking for that summer learning opportunity then, start volunteering. Get involved now! Below are several resources to help get you started. Start making an impact now!

1. Hands on Jacksonville – Start here and make an account. Search for opportunities which are of interest to you.

2. Volunteen Nation – You can search for local opportunities. Additionally, they have scholarship and grant opportunities. Follow them on Twitter!

3. – Love this website! It is one of the largest websites for young people and social change. There are many simple ideas for teens who want to make a difference in their community. Explore their campaigns for easy ways to make an impact.

4. Teen Life – Search for not only volunteer opportunities, but also enrichment programs and college admissions resources.

Local Opportunities for Teens

1. Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens Teen Volunteer Program

2. Baptist Health Volunteer Opportunities for Teens

3. Mayo Clinic Volunteer Opportunites

4.  Jacksonville Public Library – Join a teen advisory board! You need a recommendation letter, parental permission form, and authorization for juvenile record search.

5. UF Health Teen Volunteer Program

6. Jacksonville Human Society Volunteering

7. Hubbard House Volunteer FAQ

8. St. Vincent’s Teen Volunteer Program

9. Nemour’s High School Volunteer Program

Student Futures’s goal is to motivate and help students achieve their dreams. Need help preparing for college? Know a teen who is having trouble maintaining balance in their life? Contact Student Futures today to set up an initial academic coaching consultation to learn more about how we help teens achieve their dreams and become masters of their own path to success.

Keep smiling and reaching for the stars!

Your Brain on Summer Break

The 2013-14 school year is wrapping up. One of the big concerns now that students are going on break is they are going to forget some of what they have learned this year. Unfortunately, it is a fact that students can unlearn some of what they have worked so hard to accomplish. How do we combat learning losses during the summer? By embracing experiential learning to the fullest! Don’t waste your summer. You will have to go back to school before you know it. Get up and enjoy every day!

First, create a summer bucket list. What are some things you want to do over the summer before you have to go back to school?

1. Writing Practice: Start writing in a journal. Record your summer thoughts and experiences. You won’t regret this. Keep it forever and read it later.

2. Reading: Go to the library. Find a book that interests you. It could be a book about anything! I read a book my senior year in high school and was able to use it my freshman year in college while taking my first English class. Grab a friend and read the same book. Discuss it together. Also, libraries have teen programs with various enriching activities.

3. Math: I challenge you to create a summer budget. An honest budget and then I challenge you to stick to it.

4. Science & Geography: If you have a smart phone you can download the Geocaching app. This is an app that will send you on multiple adventures. Enter your zip code or city and tons of caches will appear for you to choose from. Each cache has latitude and longitude coordinates. Use the GPS on your phone to locate the cache. It is like a treasure hunt, except you don’t keep what you find. You leave it for others to find later. Most of the time each cache has a piece of paper available for people to write their own message and date they found the item. It’s fun to see who has been there before you. Additionally, if you don’t want to hunt for a cache you can set one up yourself for others to find. Grab your friends and go on a treasure hunt!

5. Science: Grab your friends and try a new recipe. Anything! Personally, I would look up recipes containing chocolate. Seeing as it is so hot in the summer you could experiment with fruit and make some yummy smoothies.

6. Social Studies & Science: Go to a park! There are lots of state and local parks around with all kinds of trails where you can go exploring. A lot of the state parks have some fascinating historical information too.

7. Science: Go to the Jacksonville Zoo! There is so much to see and do. Bring a camera and lots of water.

8. Reading and Writing: Research colleges and programs on Smart College Visit. Make an online log of your research through the website. Big Future is another great site to help you with college research. Visit a local college. Walk around and explore the campus.

9. VOLUNTEER! Pick an organization and get involved. Search for opportunities at Volunteen Nation or make an account with Hands On Jax and explore opportunities.

10. Internships: Nemours in Jacksonville offers internships to high school students. This is a great opportunity and an amazing thing to put on any college application. Don’t be afraid to call a business to ask if they have any opportunities available. The worst they will say is no. If you have an interest in animals you could call a local vet office and ask if they could use some summer help.

Ok. Now, there should be no signs of learning losses because everyone is going to go out there and have an adventurous and educational summer break. Student Futures believes in helping students get the most out of their education. Whether a student is trying to prevent learning loss over the summer or prepare for the following school year. Student Futures wants to help students succeed. Contact us today for more information about how academic coaching can help students excel.

Keep smiling and reaching for the stars!