Adult leadership aims to help youth program

Published 9:45 pm Friday, February 1, 2013

Courtney Washington (left) and Myesha Tolbert, members of Leadership Selma-Dallas County, attended a breakfast Friday, to encourage businesses to be corporate sponsors for the non-profit organization. --Sarah Cook

Several youth and business leaders shared breakfast Friday morning and discussed the importance of Leadership Selma-Dallas County and why this program is crucial to the future of the area.

Leadership Selma-Dallas County is a non-profit leadership development program dedicated to creating hard-working leaders. The group hosts both a youth and an adult program, which includes a series of educational sessions.

This year the youth program, which includes 32 students from around the county, is preparing for their annual retreat — a crucial part of the program, said Beth Taylor, executive director of the youth leadership class.

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However, in order to make this retreat possible, the students must raise enough money first — approximately $6,000.

“What we’re trying to do is get corporate sponsors,” Taylor said. “That will take care of our raffle prizes as well as our youth retreat.”

To become a corporate sponsor, businesses can choose from four categories — platinum, gold, silver and bronze. Platinum sponsors give $1,500, gold $1,000, silver $500 and bronze $250.

Through being a sponsor, businesses also receive raffle tickets, which give them the chance to win up to $1,000.

“We’re non-profit so we depend on donations and grants to keep our program going,” Taylor said.

Courtney Washington, who was part of the youth leadership class and is now a member of the adult class, said the program’s success is immeasurable.

“Youth leadership was one of those programs where we got to meet other peers around Selma and learn more about these people,” Washington said. “It’s prepared me immensely for college and applying for jobs after. It’s really a great program — I’m a product of it and I’m proud to have been a part of it.”

Washington currently works at Concordia College Selma and is working towards her PhD.

Robin Woodson with KFC, one of the program’s existing sponsors, also stressed the importance of Leadership Selma-Dallas County, saying it produces managers, not simply employees.

“We need people to run our community and this program provides that,” Woodson said.

She also explained students already pay $50 to participate in the program and the board doesn’t want to increase that fee in an effort to keep the program affordable.

“I’m asking you to invest in the community,” Woodson stressed. “We will return the favor by producing functional, productive leaders for the community — that’s our goal and that’s what we intend to do.”