To learn about our efforts to improve the accessibility and usability of our website, please visit our Accessibility Information page. Skip to main content
New York Jeter's Leaders

Jeter's Leaders Spotlight

The Jeter's Leaders are a select group of high school students from Greater Kalamazoo and New York City who are committed to leading a healthy lifestyle. The Leaders are ambassadors to Derek and carry out the Turn 2 Foundation's mission of supporting and promoting healthy lifestyles for today's youth. Members are dedicated to staying drug and alcohol free. They participate in community events, attain high academic marks and are devoted to setting examples for younger students. Over the past year, New York Jeter's Leader Sonille Liburd, has taken leadership to the next level. This dynamic student has stood out in her school, community and to members of the Jeter's Leaders program by going above and beyond what is asked of her and by simply doing the right thing. We would like to share Sonille's accomplishments, and thank her for the hard work and dedication she's shown Turn 2, her peers and the young children who look up to her as a role model each day.

Sonille Liburd has been an active member in the New York Jeter's Leaders program since the summer of 2007. She is currently a senior at Thurgood Marshall Academy in Manhattan. While in the program, Sonille held summer internship positions, participated in the Summer Discovery college prep program and served as the co-president during the 2009-10 and 2010-11 program years. Active in all facets of her life, Sonille is also a contributing member of her school's mock trial team and peer mediation club. Once she graduates from high school and the Jeter's Leaders program, Sonille has high aspirations of becoming a leading international social worker and entrepreneur.

"Sonille has made a remarkable transition since the time she started in the program," says Betty Wiltshire, New York Jeter's Leaders director. "Her leadership qualities continue to grow and are visible to the rest of the group. She has become an outstanding mentor to Turn 2's after school children. As president, her input in the work we do is balanced with well-constructed criticism, helpful advice and the support the group needs to finish tasks."

"I was introduced to the program by Jehan Atherton; an alumna who had hopes for me to apply as she felt the program would help me develop. Jehan was someone I really looked up to. Aside from everything the program offered, it also was a place that would help me boost my self-esteem because when I applied, I really struggled with accepting myself and what I had within."

Sonille is committed to achieving in all aspects of her life. "Academically, I work to the best of my abilities and push myself at all times to do better in areas that need improvement. I strive to be a leader by living a healthy lifestyle and promoting the idea to my peers. I take pride in the fact that I am not influenced by the negative aspects of my surroundings."

Rafael, a fellow Jeter's Leaders member and co-president, sees Sonille as an important leader in the program. "I look up to Sonille because of the atmosphere she brings into meetings and her never-ending capacity to influence her peers in ways that bring out their strongest qualities."

As a sophomore, Sonille won the Jeter's Leaders You're A Star Award for outstanding mentorship. Last year, she was awarded with the League Leader Award for highest attendance and presented with the Most Valuable Player Award for her exceptional leadership qualities. As she finishes her senior year, Sonille will have achieved her four-year goal of being named to the honor roll throughout high school. After her Summer Discovery experiences at Northeastern University this past summer, Sonille will attend Northeastern and major in social work. Her goal is to work internationally with children and start her own non-profit organization.

"I want to be the voice for youth and empower them to tackle the obstacles they experience."

Back to top »

Movado Group hosts "Night of Discovery"
December 2010

On Monday, Dec. 6, 2010, Movado Group, Inc. invited the New York Jeter's Leaders to experience a "Night of Discovery" at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. This exclusive event allowed the Jeter's Leaders to discover the worlds of sports, art, music and fashion through discussions with special guest speakers. Acclaimed jazz musician, Wynton Marsalis, Details Magazine's senior fashion editor Eugene Tong, Will Varner, a student in the Master's program at the School of Visual Arts, and New York Yankees captain and humanitarian Derek Jeter all participated in a panel discussion focusing on their views of leadership and the arts.

As part of the evening, Movado and the School of Visual Arts presented the Movado Future Legend Award to five exceptional student artists. The New York Jeter's Leaders were asked to be a part of the event as recognition of their roles as student leaders and the leaders of tomorrow.

Jeter opened the discussion by explaining that his interest in creating an organization that focuses on youth came very early in his professional career. His childhood hero, Dave Winfield, motivated him with his off-the-field efforts. Jeter realized his dream in 1996 when he started the Turn 2 Foundation.

Marsalis explained that art and music bring people together, creating a community. He spoke eloquently about the ability of music to inspire all people because of its invisibility.

Tong stressed the importance of taking advantage of opportunities presented to you, no matter how small they may seem. He spoke of how his rise to the top of the fashion world started with an internship at a magazine. He stated that fashion is a way to express individuality by creating a personal identity and showing leadership by being unique and standing by one's decisions.

Graduate student Varner spoke about the importance of courage in becoming a successful artist. Varner believes that his patience and courage to take risks and stand by them are what have allowed him to be a leader in his young career.

After the opening statements from the distinguished panelists, two Jeter's Leaders, Rafael and Corinne, led a Q&A session using a list of questions compiled by the Jeter's Leaders. The questions were crafted to help the Leaders gain advice and inspiration on how to be successful leaders and work to achieve their career and life goals. When asked at what point he started creating art without reservations, Varner quickly replied, "Not yet!" He explained that the reality is that one may never be able to create without some reservation because expressing true emotion is always scary, but having courage to take risks is part of leadership and success.

As the captain of the New York Yankees, Jeter was asked how he defines leadership. "You have to be willing to do what you say. You have to understand your strengths and weaknesses and improve upon them."

The final question to each of the panelists asked them to name their role models and who supported them while achieving their dreams. Jeter, Marsalis, and Tong all contributed much of their success to their parents. "They let me move to New York without a job. They believed in me and gave me the tools to find my own way," said Tong. Varner credited his peers. He reminded the Leaders that they have much to gain from each other and should take advantage of what everyone brings to the table.

Following the discussion, the Jeter's Leaders were led on a private tour through the art gallery. They learned about different styles of art and many of today's up-and-coming artists from the School of Visual Arts. After the tour, they enjoyed a special performance by Marsalis and his jazz quintet. While performing, Marsalis took time to explain the basics of jazz and challenged the Jeter's Leaders to find beats and melodies as the group was playing.

"I have never been to an abstract art museum. It really opened my eyes on how someone can express the smallest ideas on a huge scale. I also loved watching Wynton Marsalis perform and listening to Eugene Tong speak. His youth and humor really helped relate to us as an audience of youth activists," said Tyreece, second-year Jeter's Leader member.

"Movado's Night of Discovery was a great experience. The speakers were all down to earth and very inspiring. The art that we were able to see in the gallery was all so gorgeous. It was an amazing experience," said Amy, another second-year Jeter's Leader.

To conclude the event, Movado honored its 2010 Future Legends Award recipients. The Movado Future Legends Program was designed to help cultivate and support a future generation of artists. The 2010 honorees included three outstanding students from the School of Visual Arts -- Jungyeon Ron, Will Varner and Kelley Hensing. Sergi Q and Katie Cole also received Future Legends Awards for their accomplishments in the art of music, specializing in song writing and singing. Sergio Q's original music was chosen to launch the Movado BOLD television campaign, while Cole was recognized as the runnerup in the competition.

"We are thrilled to partner with the Turn 2 Foundation this evening and to present this very special 'Night of Discovery'," said Mary Leach, Chief Marketing Officer of the Movado Group, Inc. "It is also an honor to recognize the 2010 Future Legend Award recipients, and we commend them for their outstanding commitment and dedication to their craft."

Announced earlier this year, Movado Group, Inc. will partner with the Turn 2 Foundation through 2012, providing two summer internships each year to the Jeter's Leaders members and alumni. Additionally, Movado Group, Inc. has committed to $25,000 each year to support the Jeter's Leaders Internship Initiative.

Back to top »

Jeter's Leaders tour Philadelphia universities
Contributions from Ashley, Jeter's Leaders member since 2009
October 2010

During the recent Columbus Day holiday, the New York Jeter's Leaders made their way to Philadelphia to visit three well-known schools: University of Pennsylvania (UPenn), Drexel University and Temple University. Each year the program takes advantage of this holiday break to visit nearby colleges and universities that the Leaders are interested in attending.

When the Leaders arrived at UPenn, the group set out on a scavenger hunt. The activity allowed the Leaders to explore the beautiful Ivy League campus, while learning about its history. Many of the Leaders felt that UPenn exuded a feeling of unity because of its diversity and the friendly atmosphere.

From UPenn, the Jeter's Leaders made their way to Drexel University. Once on Drexel's campus the group enjoyed lunch in one of the school's many cafeterias. After lunch, the Leaders set out for a tour of the campus from a very helpful and friendly admissions guide. Everyone in the group was amazed by the unique and striking architecture of the surrounding buildings. The Leaders learned that Drexel's widespread network offers "The Co-Op Advantage." This program allows students to gain valuable hands-on experience, as they are able to work at more than 1,000 companies -- something the Leaders were very interested in!

The next and last stop on the tour was Temple University. From the moment the Leaders stepped on campus, they felt the Temple pride and joy. It was obvious that there were a lot of social activities on campus. The Leaders split into two groups, and tour guides gave the Leaders advice on college life and enlightened them about the university and the benefits of attending Temple.

Afterward, the Jeter's Leaders returned to the bus for the ride back to New York City. The Leaders thoroughly enjoyed the tours, the campuses and the schools, and were satisfied with the testimonials they heard from the students and staff of each university.

Back to top »

Jeter's Leaders make change during New York Cares Day
Contributions from Jason, Jeter's Leaders member since 2008
October 2010

On Oct. 23, 2010, the Jeter's Leaders took part in the New York Cares citywide volunteer event. For their contribution, Leaders helped prepare a local elementary school in Brooklyn for the new school year. New York Cares Day is an opportunity for companies, civic groups, students, families and friends to participate in a day of team building while giving back to the New York City community.

It was quite a busy day for the Jeter's Leaders. Upon arriving at Walt Whitman Elementary, the Leaders were greeted by eager volunteers from NYC Cares. The volunteers led the group to the auditorium where they were assigned tasks for the day. The group learned that they would be helping to clean, reorganize and beautify the school. They were able to choose between a number of activities including painting a mural, cleaning out and organizing storage rooms, and reorganizing a library.

After choosing tasks, the Leaders split up into groups and instantly got to work. The group of Jeter's Leaders working on the storage closet found out right away that their task would be quite an adventure. As soon as they opened the closet, they were flooded with pencils, textbooks and notebooks, among many other school supplies. It was their job to make sure the supplies were neatly reorganized, so that when school started on Monday morning, teachers and staff would be able to find items with ease. "One can almost compare the start of the job to a disaster, but in the end it was definitely a job well done," said Jason.

Another group of Leaders worked hard on a mural on the exterior of the school. The paintings included rainbows, words of peace and encouragement, and colorful trees and buildings to help keep the students motivated during long school days.

In the library, the Leaders helped organize textbooks and reading books for the children. At first, the job seemed simple, but they soon learned that it would take a lot of effort and teamwork to get the job done. After hours of cleaning and organizing, the library looked brand new!

The event definitely reinforced the value of teamwork, and served as yet another example to prove that participating in community service is be rewarding and fun.

Back to top »

Jeter's Leaders participate in Third Annual New York Recovery Rally
Contributions from Karina, Jeter's Leaders member since 2009
September 2010

To continue their mission of promoting healthy lifestyles, the New York Jeter's Leaders participated in the Third Annual New York Recovery Rally in Randall's Island Park on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2010. The event is a celebration of recovery from addiction. The Jeter's Leaders helped raise awareness by taking part in the one-mile Recovery Celebration Walk around Icahn Stadium alongside other supporters.

Information booths representing the different organizations and groups in attendance were set up around the park. Each booth provided pamphlets on available resources, general health issues and the prevention and treatment of drugs and alcohol abuse.

The event's special guest entertainer was soul singer Brad Marquis. Marquis's childhood was tough, as he witnessed his parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents use and abuse drugs. After speaking with the attendees about the challenges of dealing
with addicted family members, Marquis put on a special performance. Many of the lyrics in his songs sent the message that it is never too late to make a difference in one's life. He captivated the audience with a very emotional performance.

One highlight of the day was when retired police officer Frank Grecco talked to the Jeter's Leaders about drug abuse. He spoke very honestly about the dangers of illegal substances and referred back to many people he knew who had been hurt by drugs and alcohol. He also talked about how prevalent the issue is in New York City.

Throughout the day, many people shared their stories of recovery. The personal testimonials helped the Leaders understand that drugs and alcohol lead to other negative behaviors including having unprotected sex and letting the body take over the mind. Each story ended with the same message -- drugs and alcohol are not worth letting your life go to waste.

The Jeter's Leaders agreed that the event was an important opportunity to see and hear what happens when people let drugs and alcohol take hold of them. The group felt good to be there representing an organization and program that embodies healthy lifestyles. The Leaders are hopeful that the rally encourages people struggling with addiction to get help and start a new and positive lifestyle.

Back to top »

Since its launch in 1996, the Turn 2 Foundation has awarded more than $23 million to create and support signature programs that motivate young people to turn away from drugs and alcohol and "Turn 2" healthy lifestyles. Learn more »

Social Change Project
The Project is an event created to share one of the Foundation's principles with communities. Learn more »

Derek's Facebook