UFL Staff and Volunteers
The United Future Leaders program is comprised of two full-time, certified staff members, 2-3 TTU graduate assistants and 3-5 undergraduate student assistants. Due to the large amount of program growth, UFL relies heavily on TTU student volunteers to assist with curriculum implementation and program facilitation at 13 campuses each week. These student volunteers encompass a wide variety of majors and fields of study, including human development and family studies, engineering, pre-med, nursing and media and communications. The UFL staff believe having volunteers with diverse career and personal interests benefits program participants by providing adult mentors they can relate to and learn from. These volunteers also provide exponential benefits to the development of program curriculum by incorporating knowledge from their individual fields and helping to ensure the content of all lessons align with current research. In 2013, UFL partnered with the TTU Student Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (SAND), an undergraduate student organization in the College of Human Sciences, in order to establish a consistent group of volunteers with a specialization in nutritional sciences. Student volunteers from SAND gain valuable experience related to their program of study by assisting with weekly snack preparation and implementation of basic nutrition lessons, while UFL gains knowledgeable volunteers that are committed to volunteering on a consistent basis.
Research shows that providing youth the opportunity to form relationships with positive adult mentors and role models, in addition to those already present in their daily lives (parents and teachers), increases their likelihood to make positive choices. The UFL facilitators offer the same positive messages that parents, teachers and principles share every day, but students may be more likely to listen and implement these behaviors when taught by a "cool Tech student". The adult volunteers with UFL also frequently report positive benefits in their own lives and future plans due to experiences during program delivery. The relationships established through ongoing participation in UFL provide lasting positive benefits to both young leaders and adult facilitators.