A graduate of a Kansas Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) program has been selected for an internship with the national organization.
Linda Moyo, a 2018 graduate of Newton High School, is giving a voice to current JAG-K participants as the national Student Engagement Intern.
Once a shy small-town Kansas student with limited ability to communicate in English, Moyo transformed in just a few short years to a college student, mentor to JAG-K participants, and YouTube commentator. Now she is using her skills and talents to help JAG students across the country.
“Of the many things that Linda is working on with JAG National, her main focus right now is the launching of student-focused social media accounts and a podcast,” said Tori Buell, JAG Social and Digital Media Manager. “We brought Linda onto the team as the Student Engagement intern, a role we created for her, because during the interview process we saw her kind, honest, and cheerful demeanor. Her determination and drive are going to serve her well as she helps us connect with JAG students on a whole new level.”
For the past three years, Moyo’s self-proclaimed mission has been to provide “Informational, Transformational, Inspirational” messages on her series of videos entitled “Linda Insights.” Now she will work part-time for JAG national telling the stories and providing the insights of current high school students.
Moyo credits her involvement with the school’s JAG-K program for much of her development. She began using untapped leadership and communication abilities. Moyo eventually was elected state president of the student organization.
“The first day I was in the JAG class, it was like a light went on or a fire was lit inside me,” Moyo said. “When the Career Specialist went over the syllabus, I thought ‘This is what I’ve needed, what I’ve wanted, what I’ve been praying for.’
A native of Zimbabwe, Moyo came to the United States at the beginning of her fourth grade year. After living in Atlanta for one year, Moyo arrived in Kansas, moving to North Newton. Moyo said she always loved school, but her limited proficiency in English constrained her naturally outgoing personality.
“She would not talk, but based off her daily journal entries I could tell how much potential she had,” said Tavis Leake, the former JAG-K Career Specialist at Newton High School. “After a few weeks in JAG-K, Linda almost decided to drop the course as she didn’t know where she fit in the program.”
As a high school junior, Moyo came out of her shell in time to be elected Vice-President of the Newton High School JAG-K program. Near the end of her junior year, she was convinced by JAG-K students and staff to run for the office of regional president, which she won. As a senior, she was elected statewide president, incorporating a rap as her campaign speech.
Moyo describes her experience in JAG-K as similar to a caterpillar entering a cocoon, soon to emerge as a butterfly equipped to fly.
In addition to holding various offices, Moyo was honored by the mayor of Newton, spoke at her high school graduation, and presented an award to then-governor Sam Brownback.
“After I graduated from high school, I thought that in one way or another I would always be a part of the JAG family,” said Moyo, who immediately began volunteering in the classroom at her former school. “When you’ve been given something so great, you want to give back. I love engaging with the students.”
Moyo is now a Psychology major at Bethel College, with minors in Human Services and Communication Arts. In her spare time, she attends JAG-K events and counsels current participants in the program. And a dream she carried for years, to produce Linda Insights on YouTube, became a reality after high school.
Check out episodes of Linda Insights at:
The experience creating Linda Insights will come in handy in her new internship. Among her duties, JAG has asked Moyo to launch a podcast in January entitled “Start Here, Go Everywhere.” The podcast will feature guests, including JAG staff, as well as current and former JAG participants. These podcasts will “offer tools and skills to educate, inspire, and challenge youth to succeed both in school, on the job skills, and in personal life leading to productive and rewarding careers,” Moyo said.
“My goal is to engage students in social media platforms, to amplify their voices to tell their JAG story,” Moyo said. “Every student has a different story, and I want to make sure that each of them feels seen, heard, and understood.
“JAG gave me a voice and a platform. Having that platform has made me who I am today. The opportunities, the relationships, the network that I have, are all because of JAG. Now I want to do that for others.”
JAG-K is a multi-year, in-school program for students in grades 7-12 that offers tools to successfully transition students into post-secondary school, the military, or directly into the workforce with marketable skills. Participants in the program face multiple barriers to success that their JAG-K Career Specialist helps them overcome through a nationally-accredited, evidence-based model.
The 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization is a state affiliate of the national JAG program network which operates in 40 different states and territories. It is primarily funded through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant to the State of Kansas administered by the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF). In addition to school districts and DCF, JAG-K partners with the Kansas Department of Education. Other JAG-K funding sources include ADM, AT&T, Goldstein Charitable Trust, John Deere, the Kansas Health Foundation, the Kansas State Bank Commissioner, Synchrony Financial, the Taco Bell Foundation and Walmart.
To learn more about JAG-K, visit www.jagkansas.org, ‘Jobs for America’s Graduates-Kansas’ on Facebook, and on Twitter at @JAG_Kansas.