KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Derek Jeter's Turn 2 Foundation aims to help kids live healthy lifestyles, free from drugs and alcohol, while helping them become leaders and build for their futures.
Alexi Kocefas, a Kalamazoo Central High School graduate, was one of the 15 graduates in 2020 to make the foundation's list of Jeter's Leaders. Nine are from the Kalamazoo area, where Jeter grew up.
"When I first came in, I was so shy," said Kocefas. "I didn't feel like my voice mattered as much as everybody else."
Despite this Kocefas said that this program has helped her in more ways than she can count. She said that the program helped her become a leader, made her more confident and she got to have experiences she would have never been able to without the program.
"It helped me understand what it is that I wanted to do," said Kocefas. "I came out of the program knowing what I wanted to major in and what college I wanted to go to. Overall it helped me prepare myself college and for life in general."
Sharlee Jeter, president of the Turn 2 Foundation, said the foundation was especially important in 2020.
"Keeping our kids healthy and keeping our kids strong and also supported. They are, especially now more than ever, living in a world that we could have never imagined for our young people," said Sharlee Jeter. "Helping them navigate through that and be the best version of themselves that they can be."
Kocefas said she is so grateful for the opportunities the program gave her.
"I mean it's everything that I could imagine to create that positive change for our community."
Derek Jeter started this foundation when he got into the MLB as a way to give back to the community and help the youth. The Turn 2 Foundation has many different groups in Kalamazoo, New York City and Tampa Bay.
Editor's Note: The location Alexi Kocefas graduated was corrected.