The fifth Make a Difference! Leadership Academy Graduation was held on September 26, 2013 at the Wells Fargo’s Historic Springfield Community Learning Center. Eleven of thirteen community residents were awarded Certificates of Completion. The guest speaker was Ms. Shanita Brown, Leadership Academy alumnus, active member of the Best of Bold Parents Organization and Healthy Start Coalition Board member.
The Leadership Academy utilizes training material developed by the University of Arizona in 12 weekly sessions and includes additional historical information. Training topics include but not limited to: Life Course Model and Social Determinants of Health, Local Icons, Leadership, Your Personal Leadership Style, Community Values, Governing Structures, Ethical Leadership, Working Together As a Team, Effective Meetings, Public Speaking, Conflict Resolution, Problem Solving, Sharing the Work Through Delegation, Community Diversity, Historical Community Field Trips, Historical Inequality and the Foundation of Health Disparities, Raising Capital, Advocacy Training and Community Action Planning.
The graduation featured a presentation of the group’s Community Action Plan, including a Stop Bullying Now power point presentation developed by the graduates. The graduates chose to implement the Stop Bullying Now training for parents as their Community Action Plan and worked diligently through the 12 weeks gathering and researching information, preparing the power point presentation, meeting outside of the normal classes and securing a venue as a starting point to disseminate the information. At the end of the 12 weeks the graduates were well on their way with implementing the project.
Current activities include:
- Made contact with a representative of The Florida Times Union Newspaper to inform the news of planned activities.
- The group will have a booth at the Northside Love Event on September 29 at Lonnie Miller Park to provide community residents with strategies concerning bullying to make the communities a better place to live.
- On October 1st and October 3rd the group will distribute anti-bullying information at Eugene Butler Middle School at an afterschool workshop for parents at 5:30 p.m.
Additionally, one participant was unable to compete the 12 weeks due to expecting triplets and delivery the last week of class. However, she has vowed to come back and finish her plan that will focus on the lack of recycling services in various housing complexes.
Graduates spoke of their journey through the 12-week course and expressed their appreciation for being involved. Graduates will continue their involved through becoming Leadership Academy Alumni to advocate on various community concerns.
The next Leadership Academy will occur early Spring of 2014.