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North Carolina teen leaders recognized and encouraged at Initiative’s Summer Youth Leadership Program graduation ceremony

Judge Glenda Hatchett with 2014 Summer Youth Leadership Program participants

Aug. 11, 2014 — Promising young North Carolina leaders were recognized Aug. 7 for completing the 2014 Summer Youth Leadership Program of the N. C. Community Development Initiative.

The 23 rising seniors from 14 North Carolina counties were honored at a luncheon ceremony in Raleigh for completing the eight-week intensive internship program, where each teen worked on a community economic development project with a host organization.

“This program supports the Initiative’s long-term strategy to develop future leaders who can strengthen low-income communities,” said Initiative President and CEO Tara Kenchen. “The hands-on experience these interns receive in this program is irreplaceable, and so the support of our host organizations is critical, as is the support of our corporate sponsor, AT&T.”

Robert Doreauk, regional director of external affairs for the AT&T Foundation, presented a $25,000 check to Kenchen to support the youth leadership program.

“AT&T has a national focus on talent identification and development, and there are no better candidates than the 23 interns in this room,” said Doreauk.

Intern Jalen Graham of Cumberland County exemplified the goals of the program in an address to the audience. “I found a true passion for life during my internship,” said Graham, who interned at the Center for Economic Empowerment and Development in Fayetteville. “I saw how we could be a beacon of hope to those who are hopeless and how to create ladders of opportunity. I saw how leaders work hard and work together. I know that we can go out and change the world.”

Keynote speaker Judge Glenda Hatchett praised Graham and encouraged the young people to continue their paths to success and to hang on to their dreams. “You define who you are,” Hatchett said to the young attendees, whom she invited up to the podium with her. “No one else can do that for you.”

Hatchett related inspirational stories from her personal journey, which saw her graduate from Emory Law School and become both the highest-ranking African American female at Delta Airlines and Georgia’s first African American chief presiding judge of a state court at the Fulton County juvenile court. She presided over nine seasons of the two-time Emmy-nominated syndicated show, “Judge Hatchett,” and is the author of the national best seller, Say What you Mean and Mean What You Say.

Program founder Abdul Rasheed reinforced Hatchett’s message, encouraging participants to stay away from violence and allow nothing to stop them from being successful. “This is your world, and it’s up to you how you’ll make this world with your service and your contributions,” said Rasheed.

Program coordinator Kimberly Askew thanked the host sites and supervisors for their support of the program. “We could not do this without you,” said Askew of the 18 agencies who hosted interns.

Here are the 2014 Summer Youth Leadership Program graduates listed 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, NCIMED

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

Guilford County
Jori Miller, Bennett 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, NCIMED

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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