Hi, my name is Jacob Lambert, and I participated in the 2013 Youth Leadership program through the NC Community Development Initiative when I was 17 years old and a rising senior in high school. This program, including my internship at the Rutherford County Tourism Development Authority, taught me the value of service learning, emphasized a good work ethic, and taught me the importance of improving my community.
Because of this program, I learned so much about the resources and needs of my area, and it allowed me to work together and network with a diverse group of people.
Currently, I am a senior at Western Carolina University, and will graduate in December with a double major in History and Political Science. My participation in the NCCDI program helped me build self-confidence and public speaking abilities that I have used in pursuing my goals, and in obtaining a scholarship for college. Since the program, I have served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Honors College at WCU, and was elected an officer of the WCU History Club.
Seeing the needs in my own community helped me also recognize the needs in other areas and cities.
I volunteered in the United Christian Ministries community food pantry in my college town and, perhaps most significantly, I served in a Service Learning program in China last summer, teaching English to rural high school students who could not afford education. I highly recommend the NCCDI program to other students, and appreciate the opportunity to participate in it, thanks to the many people who work so hard to make this happen.