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Hailey's Heroes: Jen Leyton

By: Hailey Frances Email
By: Hailey Frances Email

February 12, 2009

A sparkling report card and a sense of calm. A Charlottesville teenager has both thanks to the young woman CBS19 anchor Hailey Frances profiles in our second edition of Hailey's Heroes. Our hero emerges from the local Young Women Leaders program.

They're two of a kind from very different worlds. CBS19 focuses on the eldest of the two: a grad student at UVA who between school and work, finds time to be a big sister. Our hero is Jen Leyton.

Teen girls can have it rough.

"It was a hard time for me and a fun time, but also a hard time," says Jen Leyton, a Big Sister, "And having someone a bit older who's done it before, but not too long ago, would've been helpful for me too."

A little help in the form of a big sister is going a long way for 8th grader Necie Harris. Necie and Jen were matched last year through a program at UVA.

"She became a big sister on top of being a first year doctoral student," says Nancy Deutsch, a Researcher for YWLP, "And really just took to it naturally like a fish to water."

The Young Women Leaders program pairs adolescent girls with a mentor.

"Before I used to fight a lot," says Harris. "And when I started hanging with Jen I've calmed down. I concentrate on school more."

"It's the most refreshing part of my week when I can--even if its 2 hours--just hang out with Necie," says Leyton. "She just makes me laugh and get out of a bubble I sometimes get stuck in."

Jen Leyton- a quiet hero- shaping a brighter, smarter, stronger future. One teen at a time.

If you know a local hero. CBS19 wants to hear from you. Send an email to and tell Hailey how your hero nominee is making difference in our community.

For more information about the Young Women Leaders program at the Curry School at UVA click here.

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