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Jeff* runs a local teen mentoring organization in Austin, Tex. He has built strong support within the community, recruited and trained dozens of local college students to serve as mentors, and earned the trust of parents and school administrators alike. His success as a community organizer is fueled by his real passion — helping high school students who need adult role models who “get” them.
Cultural anthropologists would call it participant-observation, but for Jeff and his team, being entrenched teen culture is necessary to earn the type of respect and trust that allows teens to reach out when they go through break-ups, run away from home, or face any number of difficult circumstances.
In an extensive interview, he shared experiences that highlight how life as a teen in today’s culture differs from our experiences 20 years ago. “One night at an event I saw a group of four teenagers talking in a circle — two football jocks and two less popular, socially awkward types. They were all talking about the awesome time they had the night before. Turns out they were talking about playing ‘Call of Duty’ on Xbox Live. They play together all the time, but they wouldn’t be caught dead hanging out together at school.
Originally From “Online Hangouts And The ‘In-Crowd'”| Published March 11, 2010