WHITING | Since January, I have had the honor and privilege of being a student in the inaugural class of The South Shore Leadership Youth for Community Engagement (SLYCE) program. When I started the program, I had no idea what to expect, but I was completely open-minded and eager to learn whatever I could.
As the meetings approach and pass each month, I get more and more excited about the outcome of this class, and I become more aware of just how elite the program is. At all previous sessions, my classmates and I were introduced to countless numbers of community leaders who all had a piece of advice to share to us. Little did we know, all of the advice our leaders were giving us would help us through the second half of the program.
The July session marked the halfway point to the program, meaning that from that point forward, we had to be all in all the time. The commitment was so important at that meeting because we started the beginning stages of our community service projects. Each student was assigned to a group (mental illness, drugs, infrastructure and development, recreational facilities, funding for schools, fine arts, or public transportation) that would be the theme of their service project.
This session was exhilarating; everyone was ecstatic to take the next step in his or her SLYCE career. I could feel the positive energy flowing through the room as all of the students became closer with their group members. Everyone was so eager to begin the project right away and jump right in. Most of the students are individuals who know how to get things done, so they did not want to waste any time.
I am more eager than I have ever been to be able to get involved in the community and make a difference through my group’s service project (mental illness). This program has given my classmates and me an opportunity that is one of a kind, and I hope everyone involved is just as excited as I am. I will forever be indebted to the incredible individuals who have made this program possible and chosen me to pursue it.
ABOUT GWEN STRICKER | Whiting is a junior at Whiting High School and is active in volunteer work and Relay for Life North Lake, with which she is the entertainment co-chair. She is the Vice President of her class and the head manager of the boy’s basketball team. Gwen is part of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council, as well as National Honor Society. She is active in her church, as well as cross country. She dreams of a day free of cancer.