Shanté Bassett

Changing People's Image of Teenagers through Community Service

Shanté Bassett is determined to break down the stereotypical image of the apathetic teenager that she feels some adults have. Her solution? Get her peers involved in the community.

Shanté organized the Youth Get Involved (YGI) at her high school in Queens Village, New York. At the fair, students learned about opportunities ranging from internships to community service to employment. The event, says Shanté, was "a huge success." One hundred students attended the fair and met with representatives from a wide range of organizations that encourage young people to make a difference.

So many students enjoyed the experience and wanted to continue that Shanté decided to found YGI as an ongoing organization "dedicated to aiding communities through youth involvement." Since its founding, YGI has participated in a wide range of community service initiatives, including the American Cancer Society "Making Strides Against Breast Cancer" walk; a mural project to beautify local schools; and the launch of a Kids for Community Web site in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Recently, YGI was selected as a winner in the Fleet Entrepreneurship Month Competition sponsored by the Citizens Committee for New York City.

It took a lot of hard work and determination to organize the first YGI event and to get a fledgling organization off the ground. What did the experience teach Shanté about leadership? "In order to be an effective leader, you have to realize that you can't take on every task on your own. You have to enlist help!"

You can find out more about YGI at www.youthinvolved.org.