YR Stories: Lily Casavant
Youth Resources’ TEENPOWER program is nothing short of life-changing. It is hard to put into words how much an organization could touch your heart and the hearts of so many others, but anytime I am given the chance, I gladly accept.
My most memorable YR experience was my first High School TEENPOWER conference in 2013. I had a lot of self-confidence issues from bullying coming out of middle school and did not know many people going to the same high school as me. I was suddenly thrust into this environment where everyone was a friend to anyone. People were not ashamed to be themselves and went out of their way to get to know you. I did not know how it was possible to create such a positive, loving environment, but I found out how during the course of the week. I had been looking up to these student leaders, the Youth Staff, all throughout TEENPOWER. These high schoolers, who were crazy, goofy, bubbly, fun, and kind, all had their own struggles and problems. They were putting such a vulnerable and sensitive side of themselves forward when they shared their stories. It made you realize that you aren’t alone – that there are people who are going through the same trials you are – that you are good enough – that no matter who you are, what race you are, what religion you are, what sexual orientation you are, you are welcome and loved – that being a friend to someone can change their life in a big way.
For the next three years as both a participant and Youth Staffer, I continued to feel the same feelings from that first high school TEENPOWER. It made me change my perspective of myself and of other people. I got to see other participants go through the same realization that they are worth it, they are good enough, and they are supported, as I did years before. I transformed from an awkward, closed-off, insecure young girl into a confident, still awkward (but more embracing of it), and strong ME. I have made my best friends in the entire world through TEENPOWER, and I can’t imagine my life without them. And I developed a passion for leading. Whether it be through school organizations or living a positive lifestyle, I wanted to inspire others to see the good in themselves and other people. TEENPOWER isn’t just a conference each year. It’s a lifestyle. It’s the best feeling in the world. It’s family. It’s home.
I will always be grateful for Youth Resources molding me into the person I am today. It will forever be a part of who I am, and I know the same is true for so many others in the TEENPOWER program.
Lily Casavant is a sophomore at the University of Southern Indiana has been involved with YR since 2012, most recently as a summer intern at YR. She is currently residing in Orlando, Florida where she is employed for the Disney College Program.