Activate Your Leadership

A few weeks after new Intern Leaders start, Senior Program Staff have conversation with each new intern noting that leadership is the art of motivating a group of people to act toward achieving a common goal. Each new Intern Leader is then asked to write a short letter that tells TLNYC Parent/Guardian, Student, and TLNYC Community Leaders how their personal story and background could help a student move forward.

Below are a couple stories from the 2019-2020 Intern Leader cohort answering the following question:

As a new Intern Leader with TLNYC, please write a short essay/letter (150 – 300 words) that tells the TLNYC student leaders, parents/guardians, and community at-large how your story and background can help students from all backgrounds move forward.

Jordan Bell | 2019-2020 TLNYC Intern

Dear Leaders,

When thinking about the question, I first wanted to say that I am excited to serve the community while being a beacon of hope.

To start, throughout life, I’ve come into contact with various individuals whose lives turned for the worse after going through a traumatic or devastating situation. In my life, I sometimes chose the route of being in situations that could’ve knocked me down. But the great thing is that I worked through each situation and taught myself that mistakes make you great if you learn from them.

From going through various things in life, I learned that:

A leader is someone who never gives up, who pushes through the days where nothing goes right while choosing to keep moving forward;

A leader is someone who takes care of those around them while remembering to take care of themselves; and

A leader is someone who can take criticism and applies it to their everyday life.

When people are normally asked what a leader is, some mention money and riches, big franchises, and the original “American dream.” But I’ve learned that having money and large franchises don’t always make someone a leader. Rather, being a leader starts with mastering character characteristics such as mastering patience, positively influencing those around you, showing integrity, and much more.

Since I’ve started my Higher Education journey while interning with TLNYC Leaders, I’ve learned so much including “no matter how hard life gets, you must keep on going.” I will use my story of highs and lows with all people I meet to not only inspire but to teach that you can still be a Leader after making a mistake.

All in all, being a leader is a work in progress and I am here to show each student, parent, guardian, educator, and community person that my struggles helped me say that “I am better than I was yesterday.”

With Love,


Jordan Bell, 2019-2020 TLNYC Intern

Talisha Hamilton | 2019-2020 TLNYC Intern

Dear Leader,

I have always enjoyed working with Student Leaders in the hopes of helping them see their potential and grow beyond that. Using my background and knowledge is essential to helping each Leader develop important life-skills despite the challenges and hardships that they may face. Why you may ask? Because I believe that we are all worthy of reaching our highest peak of happiness and success through hard work and dedication.

I can say that I have had my doubts when starting my college journey as I know that it is difficult to inspire change alone. I always would think… “How can I inspire student leaders to have hope and move toward achieving those goals and dreams?” Well, my answer to both questions came from understanding how my journey lead me to where I am today.

While thinking back on my life, there was a time where I struggled. During that time, I had no hope, felt defeated, and uninspired. My dreams seemed so far away. How did I move forward? I looked inside myself and realized that I had support from a close circle of people, people who wanted me to see me win. I took the time to reach out to them. Like a flash of lightning, each person stepped in and helped me regain my direction. I was so excited because I was dancing towards my goals again!

One of the people in the group became a mentor to me. Mentorship provided me with gems that were invaluable which reactivated my hope in possibility. This is the same hope that I use to inspire others. During our calls, one Maya Angelou leadership quote stood out to me. The quote said that “nothing can dim the light which shines from within.” Amazing quote right? Right! I glance back at it daily.

While sharing leadership lessons with the TLNYC Leaders, I know that sharing that there was a time in life where I believe that I was not good enough, smart enough, or strong enough. However, with positive guidance from my mentorship circle, I was able to learn that self-doubt is something that blocks you from the goals that you are trying to obtain. You are the company you keep and good company can help you reach your leadership goals!

In closing, I hope to walk alongside all current and future leaders while helping them see how powerful they are. When you have people that believe in and motivate you, you can achieve more than what you thought was possible. I’m here to help leaders feel that power while teaching them how to keep their flame shining as bright as a star.

With Power,


Talisha Hamilton, 2019-2020 TLNYC Intern