Learn From Everything

Learn From Everything

I find it interesting that people believe that there are only certain places or situations they can learn from and others they cannot.

In my experience, it is possible to learn from just about any situation, conference or interaction with the people around me if I’m looking for what it is that I’m able to learn.

This doesn’t mean that you should flippantly go to every conference available to you. But rather that you should attempt to stretch yourself by attending things just outside your comfort zone in order to explore the possibility that there may be something there for you to learn.

If you’re having trouble thinking of places this could happen for you, here are some examples of places I have benefited from in the past.

1. Travel and Vacations. I recently made a trip to Africa, and I was able to learn several things there. The significance here is that this trip was more vacation than work, so I wasn’t really looking for things to learn but, to my surprise, I did. This came through great conversations, reading a good book and simple observation.

2. Sundance Hospital Learning Lunches. These free lunches include CEU’s for professionals, but anyone can attend. The lunches I have made in the past have been informative, sparked new ideas and opened networking doors I would not have connected with otherwise.

3. Leadercast Conference. This conference is simulcast from Atlanta around the globe. The content is geared to business leaders but, if you’re looking for it, anyone can glean ideas and information that could propel you and those around you to the next level of your life journey.

4. Industry-Specific Conferences. For me, these have been counseling conferences in the past. As my role with Teen Life has changed, I am now looking at classes and conferences related to nonprofit management and fundraising like the upcoming American Fundraising Professionals Conference in Dallas.

5. Industry Related Conferences. I only recently have looked more into these. For our organization, this would be school related conferences. Because of the work we do directly with school counselors and students, conferences focused in those areas would be a great related-learning opportunity.

You may be wondering how this connects to working with teens. One application I believe is for students who are in classes they feel are not relevant to their future. I would argue that those classes are helping them build a baseline and potentially even explore new possibilities for what their future maybe. You never know what the future holds.

This could also apply to students who get their first job. Maybe it’s not the job they hope to have their whole life, but it’s what they can get right now. It’s like my grandfather used to tell me that if I don’t want to be a roofer my whole life, I better make a plan for a different career path.

So, what do you think? What are some non traditional ways you have learned important lessons in your life? Let us know!

Ricky Lewis is our Executive Director and has been with us since the beginning. As a father of 7, he seeks to help parents and their kids Live Life Better.

Motivation Monday: Searching for Hope

Motivation Monday: Searching for Hope

We are only 7 weeks away from our 7th annual TL5K!

As we continue to share stories from our Teen Lifeline Support Groups, we hope that you are seeing the benefits that these groups bring to the students, school districts, campus counselors and the facilitators that lead these groups.

We are so passionate about our #TL5K is because the funds raised by this one event help make these groups possible! We have the opportunity to continue to grow and reach teenagers with 100 volunteer facilitators trained to use our Life Lived Better Curriculum to lead support groups in their local school or church.

One of my favorite things about working for Teen Lifeline is sharing group stories with these other facilitators, and this has been especially fun since my mother-in-law, Julee Duke, started leading groups this semester! I may be a little biased, but she is providing support and encouragement to students who need a listening ear and a chance to be heard and accepted. Her job, and the goal of all of our facilitators, is to equip, encourage and empower the students in their groups to live life better – to choose to live a better and different story.



My name is Julee Duke, and I am leading my first Teen Lifeline group at a Middle School in Fort Worth ISD. I have nine 8th grade girls in my group, and although we are only halfway through the 8-week Support Group Curriculum, I have learned so much about these girls and their need for hope in their lives.


The first week proved to be challenging with one girl not making eye contact with me or speaking a word, but slowly scooting her chair closer and closer until she was right beside me by the end of our time together. Since that first day, she is the first one in the room and the last one out, in hopes of having a one-on-one moment with me outside of the group. She is now looking at me, smiling and sharing difficult memories and joyous victories – HOPE!


With this particular girl and the rest of the group, as the weeks have passed, hearts have softened. The girls are now fully engaged and look forward to our time together. It isn’t me or the snacks that I provide at the end that makes them want to come back – it’s that their deep desire to be heard and acknowledged is being met, some for the first time in their young lives.


There have been tears shed, confessions made, and difficult stories shared. I am extremely thankful for this opportunity and am blessed to be a small part of encouraging young people that there is hope for a better life.


In case you missed our last blog on hope, check out Chris Robey’s ideas on Helping Students Find Hope in Hopelessness.


Julee Duke is a mom of 4 great kids, volunteers with the youth at Fielder Church, and has been leading a Teen Lifeline group in Fort Worth ISD since January 2016.

Guest Post: I’M MAD!

“I am honored to introduce to you Allison B. Lewis. Allison is a mom, accountant, mentor, blogger and…my wife. We have been married for almost 11 years and I am so blessed by her. I wanted to take this opportunity to share a post she launched last week. She puts into words why Teen Lifeline does what we do. You can read more from her on her blog at DeepRollingRightField.Blogspot.com. This is also a great opportunity for you to make a donation to our 4th Annual 5K Run/Walk and help us reach our goal so we can keep reaching teens.”


This week I’ve been mad.
Really mad.
Maybe more mad than I have ever been before.
Because when I think about all the hurt, the lack of resources for people that are hurting, how the choices of one person can impact generation after generation…

Lately my frustration has been pretty narrowly focused.