“You want to see family members and friends in the community live in a safe environment and be able to make improvements that would be beneficial to future generations,” says Tyler Wendell Billew, a senior at Brother Martin High School.
At Brother Martin, Billew is involved with the National Honor Society. He is also involved with the Chevron Future Leaders, Teen Council and the Executive Teen Council Board – all three organizations group back together with each other but have different classification names. Being a part of the Executive Council, Billew meets with 11 of his peers to plan and discuss future events. The most recent event was the Kickback meeting in March, which allowed teens to have a fun and safe environment to hang out with each other.
“The Executive Teen Council Board feels that the New Orleans community doesn’t hold a strong representation for teens. The usual perception of children is negative, when in fact there are numerous bright minds and ideas that just don’t have the right outlet to express them,” says Billew. “Our program strives to gather teens to express their beliefs and concerns within the community as well as outside of New Orleans and Louisiana.”
Billew says that many people have influenced his activism, but it was his cousin Dionne Lewis who got him involved with Teen Council. Billew’s older cousin and brother, Christopher Billew and Ryan Billew, really believe in the change Billew could make. His relatives always had high hopes for him and would remind him that he was going to be successful and achieve greatness.
“My family told me that helping others is a great way to start and giving back to the community is a key element in success,” says Billew. “I’ve always stopped to listen to my family’s advice and listened into their conversations about the community and how change must come to city of New Orleans and the youth in order for us to prosper and escape the senseless murders and crimes.”
Next year Billew will be attending Louisiana State University to study engineering. After completing his undergraduate studies, he wants to start his career in engineering but will go back to school to receive his pharmacy degree. He would also love to gain a job with the NORDC community to continue helping the voices of the unheard teens of New Orleans.