Home Alone Youth Leadership Program
The Lakewood Foundation/H2O
H2O provides learning activities to youth in our communities. For over 25 years, we have provided this critical framework to our youth, helping hundreds of young people become better leaders, engage with their communities and grow into productive citizens. Support from the Thomas J. and Marjorie S. Gray Foundation will allow our organization to expand our reach to more students through new programming. Our proposed initiative includes a dynamic leadership component that will empower participants, ages 15-18 to design and implement a social service program for their younger peers. Through this process, youth will learn the tenets of leadership including critical thinking, developing empathy, working as a team, and inspiring others. 48 youth leaders (ages 15-18) will plan and implement a program that will serve an additional 285 students (ages 9-12) through training on an identified community concern, namely, home alone safety. The program will begin by recruiting 12 core student leaders who will receive intensive training during the summer. These students will recruit an additional 36 students to serve as student leaders. These students will plan programming focused on 285 students, ages 9-12 to participate in safety training programming designed by student leaders. By focusing on younger peers, ages 9-12 we will ensure that safety training occurs before youth are likely to be left alone at home. Taken together, this program will serve 48 youth leaders (ages 15-18, average age 16.5) and 285 younger peers (ages 9-12, average age 10.5). This is a new program, building on the existing expertise within our organization. This program is innovative in its unique approach of supporting teen leadership by placing them in the driver’s seat of the project, including curriculum development and all aspects of organizing a major community event. It also serves several purposes of educating, supporting, and inspiring younger students through an identified community need. Student leaders will be issued a Leadership Passport upon program initiation. This passport will include 9 identified leadership traits including Introspection, Acting with Purpose, Critical Thinking, Empathy, Collaboration and Communication, Being a Team Player, Inspiring Peers, being Hopeful and Optimistic, and Adaptability and Resiliency. Student leaders will need to demonstrate a level of proficiency in each category to earn stamps in their passport. Students will demonstrate proficiency by completing pre-identified assignments and tasks. Students who complete all of their stamps will receive recognition and reward upon program conclusion. Through this program, we will engage over 300 students, work with local safety personnel, and support leadership development. In recent years, we have seen increased demand for leadership training for students and initiatives that teach leadership by placing youth at the head of problem-solving. Through this grant, youth will work to analyze a familiar problem in our community. Youth will engage in discussion about the identified problem, work together to bring solutions to the table, and then collaboratively implement that solution. This program is focused on building on our experience and organizational strengths to offer dual-benefit programming in an innovative way. This is a new program that utilizes the commitment of our already existing staff. Our current staff, supported by a consultant with over 20 years of experience in youth leadership and accumulated knowledge of this project will be responsible for program implementation. This program will develop youth leaders by placing them in the drivers’ seat, while simultaneously addressing a critical concern of our community. The resulting program leverages our strongest assets and experience to offer more to our community through new programming.
$35,000  Funded  Encourage