Cristy Leonard

Cristy Leonard

Cristy Leonard is the Health Education Supervisor in Maricopa for North Star Youth Partnership. Cristy earned her bachelor’s degree in Health and Physical Education from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia and has been teaching for 25 years. She has been providing Health Education through North Star Youth Partnership to teens throughout the Valley since 2003.

Adults often wonder why teens make the decisions they make, even when there are glaring consequences. The truth is that teens’ brains are still developing, including the parts of the brain responsible for emotions and decision-making. This can lead teens to take part in risky behaviors like premarital sex.

Although teens are on the path to adulthood, they’re still at an age where decisions are often made for them. They’re told where to go, who or who not to hang out with, and what to learn at school. After 25 years of serving youth, North Star Youth Partnership, a program of Catholic Charities, understands the value of making students active participants in their own education.

Having a conversation with your teen can seem overwhelming, scary, anxiety ridden, and annoying. What if they ask me personal questions I’m not ready to answer? Is he/she even listening to me? If I get one more eye roll from that kid… and the list goes on.

With so much negativity in this world, we are left wondering, is there anything positive happening? The answer is a resounding yes! Our teens are making a positive impact on our communities. I have been working with teens for over 20 years, and they impress and inspire me. Our teens today are thinking more about their future goals and are less likely to engage in risky behaviors in order to accomplish these goals.