Junior Leaders Project - Spring 2012:

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The Junior Leaders Project was a program developed by the LLC and sponsored by a grant from the ISU Center for Community Engagement. The project was designed as a leadership development program for 10 -13 year old youth who attended Ryves Youth Center. Ryves is part of Catholic Charities in Terre Haute, IN. and services many “at risk” children. LLC members were given the opportunity to help facilitate the different leadership activities.

The goal of the project was to encourage teamwork, communication, character development, problem solving, respect, and civility among the tweens. All Ryves youth between the ages of 10-13 were invited to participate in this program. The grant money was used in part for Junior Leaders t-shirts, Leadership notebooks, activity books, weekly snacks and certificates. A team of LLC facilitators met weekly with the Ryves hall tweens over the course of three weeks. The tweens participated in a variety of leadership activities for 1 hours each week. The LLC facilitators would begin each week’s activities with team builders so that students and facilitators could get to know each other and start to value teamwork. Then the facilitators would engage the students in two or three activities to encourage communication, character development, problem solving, respect and/or civility. At the conclusion of each activity, the facilitators would help the participants’ process out each activity.

Overall, the program had 20 Ryves youth participate.  The tweens unanimously agreed that cooperation was a very important factor to their success and could apply that to situations outside of the activity. When the tweens were asked what they learned from their experience, here is a snippet of some of the responses:

- “to be kind and be trustworthy”

- “to trust others”

- “I liked learning about others”

- “working together worked best”

- “it was okay to rely on others for help”

- “helping others is good”

LLC volunteers enjoyed the experience of sharing their leadership knowledge, leading the activities and interacting with the tweens.