180 Days - Events for Teens by Teens

By Angel Leaf

A group of students attending the Ottumwa Schools' Accelerated Career Academy (ACA) are planning events for teens in Ottumwa.

The group, Bulldog Action C-A Difference, has a mission to encourage teens to find someone to connect with and to try new recreational activities while becoming more involved in our community. The organization is composed of student volunteers from the Ottumwa Accelerated Career Academy (ACA). 

The activities are in response to a study. "We recently learned about the Adverse Childhood Experience study (ACEs) and initiatives in Iowa to build hope and resiliency in the Aces 360 Iowa publication and videos," said Angel Leaf, a member of the action team. "We learned that teens can build resiliency if they have a caring adult in their lives. Resiliency is defined as an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change. Included in the findings was that a high ACE score can be linked to trouble focusing on school or at work, losing your temper easily, impulsively saying or doing things, and having trouble getting along with others. With this knowledge, we decided to focus on creating activities for teens and the adults who care about them."

On Monday, November 13, the group hosted two cookie decorating classes at The Wild Flour Bakery. Teens and adults learned frosting techniques from owner, Leah Morrissey, and then tried their new skills decorating a turkey, pumpkin, and leaf. Friday, November 17, teens are hosting a canvas painting class at The Vine from 4 to 5:30 p.m. with Nicki Wyldes. Future classes include a holiday-themed canvas class on December 1 and a student-led canvas class at the ACA on December 21. Gingerbread house decorating is planned at ACA on December 11 at 1:30 p.m. Students are working on the dates and times for cooking classes and game nights.

These events are open to all teens and their family, friends, and mentors. Most events are free or available at a low cost. For more information or to sign up, call Amanda at 641-683-1342 ext. 2.

All events are hosted by the Bulldog Action Group in conjunction with Partners for Children and Families. Funds for the events are provided by the Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation.