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Jason T. Kabanuck is an alumnus of the National Teen Leadership Program. Jason first attended NTLP’s summer camp program in 2012. He heard about NTLP through his high school club, Friday Night Lights, where he worked to provide safe and fun activities for teens to do on the weekend. Jason said of his first time attending NTLP, “I loved what NTLP stood for, and how it pushed me to get out of my comfort zone and explore new activities and perspectives.” He loved his experience so much that he returned as a participant in 2013 and 2014.
During his time as a participant, Jason was continuously amazed by the leadership of the staff members, saying “Seeing the unity and comradery between the staff” is what encouraged him to continue with NTLP as a volunteer staff member. Jason has been a volunteer staff for NTLP since 2015, and has staffed camps every year in both Northern and Southern California. Jason says that as a staff member, he lives for the “AHA” moments that participants have when they finally connect to each other, “On Saturday, you finally see your group come together as one, and the friendship is unlocked. They’ve made new friends, the barriers have dropped.” His desire to continue to promote the message and teachings of NTLP led him to join the Alumni Committee in 2019.
Jason graduated from Sonoma State University in 2018 with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Spanish. Currently he is studying to become a veterinary technician at the Santa Rosa Junior College, with the goal of becoming a guide dog mobility instructor for Guide Dogs for the Blind. Jason says that NTLP has given him the skills to solve problems and make decisions while taking into consideration the needs of everyone on his team, skills that he uses in his professional and personal life.