'Take the Lead,' a Leadership Program for Teen Girls, Now Accepting Nominations through April 12

Tuesday, March 8, 2005 - 12:00pm

For Immediate Release

SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. - Mount Holyoke College is looking for 40 idealistic, action-oriented high school sophomores who want to learn how to make a positive difference in the world.

Between now and April 12, Mount Holyoke is accepting nominations for the sixth annual Take the Lead, the College's leadership program for young women in high school. During the program, which runs from September 29 through October 2, 2005, participants will build their leadership skills by attending workshops, working one-on-one with Mount Holyoke College student mentors, and listening to successful women leaders. They will also develop action plans to address issues of concern to them.

Past teen participants have benefited from the Take the Lead program, employing the skills they learned to turn their ideas into successful projects. Two past participants, Susan Sparrow of Salt Lake City, Utah, and Caitlin Gorski of Hopkinton, Massachusetts, were listed by ym magazine as among "the 20 coolest girls in America." Sparrow organized a group of teenage lobbyists who secured passage of a Utah law calling for a study of salary inequities between male and female employees in that state, while Gorski was recognized for organizing a job fair for Boston's homeless men and women.

Explains Patricia VandenBerg, creator and director of the program, "We're looking for spirited, bright young women who want to tackle an issue in their school or community. Through April 12, we will welcome nominations from adults who know sophomores in high school who would benefit from Take the Lead."

Last year, the program attracted a diverse group of high school students from across the country. While on campus last fall, they attended workshops and activities on building leadership skills. This year, 40 students will be accepted into the program.

Community leaders, teachers, guidance counselors, coaches, principals, and headmasters as well as other adults may nominate up to three high school sophomores for Take the Lead. Each nominee will receive a letter from Mount Holyoke President Joanne V. Creighton inviting her to apply to the program. Adults interested in nominating sophomores may call 413-538-3500 to receive information and nomination forms. Nominations will also be accepted online at www.mtholyoke.edu/go/takethelead (click on "nomination form").

Participants are selected by a Mount Holyoke review committee that evaluates nominees on the basis of their potential for leadership and making a difference, as demonstrated by their academic, extracurricular, and community involvement as well as their insight and motivation.

Widely recognized for educating generations of women leaders, Mount Holyoke College is the nation's oldest institution of higher education for women. Inaugurated in 2000, Take the Lead continues the institution's proud tradition of leadership. Learn more about the program at www.mtholyoke.edu/go/takethelead.