Giving Teenagers A Solid Foundation

By Destiny Carrillo, program coordinator, TeamBuilding-Hawaii

How do you build a responsible teenager with expectations of success for high school and beyond? Call TeenBuilding-Hawaii!

Through nonprofit TeenBuilding-Hawaii, local author John Clark III has been building foundations of good teenagers for more than five years, helping students create a vision, set goals and contemplate life after high school.


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Destiny Carrillo

TeenBuilding-Hawaii provides free educational seminars to teenagers, parents and teachers seeking a reprieve from standard classroom fare.

“We provide engaging multimedia seminars for today’s teenagers,” says John.

“Today’s teens are savvy and informed, but they still need and want guidance. They are smarter than I was at their age. I tell them, ‘I’m just a little further down the road in life.’ Our mission is to help them avoid a few potholes and accidents.”

During dynamic seminars, John shares the true story of how his life changed from an academic all-star to a troubled youth.

Students listen, laugh and gain insight into their future as John shares stories from his book Getting Out: Expert Advice for Today’s Teens, which tells the gritty story of how a night out with friends contributed to his choice to drop out of school.

John went on to earn a GED, bachelor’s degree and MBA.

Recently, John has been working exclusively with 75 eighth-graders at Ilima Middle School in Ewa Beach. During the seminars, each student receives a free copy of the book, and a tailor-made five-year plan.

“My ultimate goal is to create a network of mentors for teachers, parents and mentors to candidly discuss what I call the big three: education, economics and opportunity,” says John. “They’re equally important but can be quite elusive without each other.”

Accordingly, John is planning parent-student mentoring seminars to be held at Kapolei Croc Center.

For now, he is focused on students — and raising funds to maintain momentum. You can help by visiting and providing a tax-deductible donation. All proceeds go toward the students’ materials. John does not take a salary.

Questions can be directed to You also can call 744-6782 to volunteer as a mentor.

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