May 26, 2015 – Two dozen rising high school seniors from across North Carolina will gain leadership skills and practical experience serving their communities this summer as part of the N.C. Community Development Initiative’s 2015 Summer Youth Leadership Program.
The six-week program, now in its eighth year, offers students intensive leadership training seminars in Raleigh every two weeks and places them in full-time paid internships designed to introduce them to the work of nonprofits in general and community economic development in particular. Interns will work on a range of projects, from developing an app to planning an event.
“We’re excited to welcome these rising stars who can do anything with their summers, but choose to give back to their communities,” said Kimberly Askew, who oversees the program. “We hope we can spark an interest among them in the work of community economic development.”
The Youth Leadership Program is part of a broader Initiative effort to develop leaders who are knowledgeable about the unique challenges facing the state’s low-wealth communities and innovative ways organizations are finding to create economic growth and opportunity.
Five new host sites expand the program’s geographic mix and areas of focus in 2015, Askew said. Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy, Chapel Hill-Carrboro Youth Forward, El Pueblo Inc., Institute for Emerging Issues and Young Black Males Leadership Alliance each serve different populations and areas of community need and opportunity.
Here are the 2015 leadership program participants and their host organizations by county:
Myeesha Perry, Self Help Credit Union
Vanna Labi, Handmade in America
Chelsea Amaya, Prosperity Unlimited Inc.
Jesse Perucho, Prosperity Unlimited Inc.
Douglas Green, Coastal Community Action Inc.
Sarah Hunt, Cleveland County Community Development Corp.
Lailah Johnson, Center for Economic Empowerment and Development
Ethan Houser, Lexington Housing Community Development Corp.
Chidera Ezuma-Igwe, The Institute
Megan Edwards, Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy
MaryKent Wolff, Housing Assistance Corp.
Austin Bennett, Young Black Males Leadership Alliance
Tatyana Barnes, Self Help Credit Union
Masiel Bautista, Chapel Hill-Carrboro Youth Forward
Jasmin Flack, EmPOWERment Inc.
Whitney Cummings, Lumbee Guaranty Bank
Caleb Edkins, Robeson County Community Development Corp.
Kristian Mckenith, Robeson County Community Development Corp.
Tierra Bivens, Monroe Union Community Development Corp.
Andrew Belgreat Jr., El Pueblo Inc.
Carolyn Chen, Institute for Emerging Issues
Yema Kpaka, Passage Home Inc.
Zachary Walker, Institute for Emerging Issues
Nahjla Davis-Jones, Rebuilding Broken Places
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 www.ncinitiative.org.