Northwest Indiana’s future leaders already are showing their potential in today’s high schools.
Nurturing those high-achieving students in ninth through 11th grades to make a difference in the region is the focus of the South Shore Leadership Youth for Community Engagement program. The program was recently launched by Valparaiso-based Leadership Northwest Indiana.
Grants provided to Leadership Northwest Indiana by the Legacy Foundation are making this inaugural program possible, said Dana Yake, LNI spokeswoman.
Those grants are from the Lake County Community Fund and the John S. and James L. Knight Fund.
In January, 42 students will participate in the South Shore Leadership Youth for Community Engagement program to “develop their leadership skills, foster a love and knowledge of Northwest Indiana and build connections with adult leaders and organizations in the Region,” Yake said.
The students will meet one full day a month from January to December, excluding May and September, in a program patterned on Leadership Northwest Indiana training for adults.
Local community organizations, youth agencies, churches and high schools nominated students who show that leadership potential.
During the last few months, a steering committee of regional leaders and professionals who work with youths analyzed the nominations and sent out applications for the program.
By Tuesday, 80 applications had been returned, representing a cross-section of Northwest Indiana, Yake said.
“It’s an amazing showing of regional collaboration from the seven counties in Northwest Indiana. We have youth from rural areas, urban areas and everywhere in between,” she said.
On Monday, the steering committee will begin interviews with those 80 students.
“The interviews will be conducted over the next two weeks in locations throughout the region, so we can connect with all the students who applied for the program,” Yake said.
The program is also seeking participant sponsor organizations, Yake said.
To become a participant sponsoring organization, call (219) 465-6818 or visit www.leadershipnwi.org.