Program passes the torch

Published 8:59 pm Friday, August 5, 2011

Alabama State Rep. Darrio Melton discusses the importance of leadership in Selma and Dallas County. Melton, who was a member of Leadership Selma-Dallas County, was one of several alumni to welcome new members Friday morning at Vaughan Regional Medical Center. -- Rick Couch

New members and alumni of the Leadership  Selma-Dallas County program gathered at Vaughan Regional Medical Center Friday morning before heading to Birmingham for the annual kickoff.

Leadership board president Ann Thomas addressed the group, telling them they are in store for an educational experience.

“You are going to learn so much about your community,” she said. “It’s a wonderful way to find out what’s going on. You’re going to see some ways that you can fit in and help your community. You’re going to go to a class one day and say ‘Wait a minute, I can really help out with this.”

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B.J. Smothers, who was a member of the 14th class, agreed.

“You will have a wonderful time and learn so much,” she said. “It’s a very positive experience.”

The program is extremely important for the future of Selma, Probate Judge Kim Ballard said. Joining the class, he said, shows each member has an interest in the future of Selma and Dallas County.

“I applaud all of you for getting involved in this,” he said.

“We need someone to hand the reigns to. There are some exciting things going on in Selma and Dallas County. We are positioned with the relationship between the state, the city and the county to do things we have never done before.”

Leadership Selma, State Rep. Darrio Melton said, was the start of something much bigger for him. Now, he said, others must step forward.

“We are in desperate need of leadership,” he said.

“Leaders have to have vision. We have to have vision, purpose and a plan.”

Melton said the class is an excellent way for people to produce solutions to some of the problems plaguing the Black Belt.

“A lot of times we say we want things to change, but we don’t know why we want to change. We just want things to be better,” he said. “If we are going to be leaders, we have to be good stewards in the community first.”

The group will work to establish a project they feel will improve Selma and Dallas County based on building relationships, building experience, building collaboration, building the community and building future leaders.

Leadership, Thomas said, is the key.

“This class is all about helping you be a levader and helping you see where you can help your community,” she said.
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