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Teens embark on journey of growth through Initiative’s Summer Youth Leadership Program

June 18, 2014 – Promising young North Carolina leaders are working on important projects for community economic development organizations around the state this summer thanks to the N.C. Community Development Initiative’s 2014 Summer Youth Leadership Program.

The program kicked off on June 16-17 with a two-day orientation in Raleigh for the 23 teens from 14 N.C. counties who were selected to participate.

“Every year, this program challenges a new group of young people to make a positive contribution to their workplace, their peers and their community,” said Initiative program associate Kimberly Askew, who directs the youth program. “The work experience and leadership trainings give them the tools they need to succeed, and expose them to career opportunities in community economic development and the nonprofit sector.”

The intensive eight-week program places rising high school seniors in internships with high-performing organizations in their communities to complete a project in community economic development and learn workplace and leadership skills.

Interns come together four times during the eight weeks for Initiative-hosted seminars and workshops on communication and service leadership topics. These seminars provide them with opportunities to meet and learn from each other, as well as from successful community leaders and entrepreneurs. Participants will also go on several field trips designed to expose them to new ideas, opportunities and perspectives.

The youth program is part of the Initiative’s long-term strategy to develop state leaders who understand the unique needs of low-income communities and can help strengthen their economies. The program is supported by a $25,000 grant from the AT&T Foundation.

The 2014 Summer Youth Leadership Program participants are listed below with their home counties and placements:

Bertie County
Rayshawn Evans, Generations Community Credit Union

Carteret County
Mitchell Gray, Coastal Community Action Inc.

Cleveland County
Breiona Ramsey, Cleveland County Community Development Corp.
Mariah Rhodes, Cleveland County Community Development Corp.

Columbus County
Anthony Anderson, Columbus County DREAM Center Inc.

Cumberland County
Jalen Graham, Center for Economic Empowerment and Development
Tenesia Cruthirds, N.C. Community Action Association

Davidson County
Elijah Laws, Lexington Housing Community Development Corp.
Shaniya Calhoun, Lexington Housing Community Development Corp.

Durham County
Nacoisha Shuler, N.C. Institute of Minority Economic Development

Forsyth County
Kendrick Terry, Experiment in Self-Reliance Inc.
Terran Coles, Winston-Salem Urban League

Guilford County
Jori Miller, Bennet College Center for Entrepreneurship

Nash County
Channing Green, Southeastern N.C. Community Development Corp.

Orange County
Jecori Owens-Shuler, EmPOWERment Inc.

Robeson County
Derrick Bowens, Robeson County Community Development Corp.
Emily Chavis, Lumbee Guaranty Bank
Kennedy Locklear, Robeson County Community Development Corp

Wake County
Chiagoziem Nywadom, N.C. Community Action Association
Emmanuel Lee, Passage Home Inc.
Jamier Peterson, Passage Home Inc.
Joyce Mayaka, N.C. Institute of Minority Economic Development

Wayne County
Emani Powell, Rebuilding Broken Places Community Development Corp.

For more information on the Summer Youth Leadership Program, visit or contact Askew at (919) 835-6072,

The N.C. Community Development Initiative leads North Carolina’s collaborative community economic development effort, driving innovation, investment and action to create prosperous, sustainable communities. For more information, visit

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