Do you know a feisty, intelligent young woman in her sophomore year of high school, or have friends who do? MHC's seventh annual Take the Lead program for idealistic high school students is now accepting nominations for next fall's program, which will run September 28-October 1. Nominations are due April 12.
Forty young women will be selected for Take the Lead based on their potential for leadership. Participants will build their leadership skills by attending workshops, working with MHC student mentors, and listening to successful women leaders. They will also develop action plans to address issues of concern to them.
Past programs have inspired significant accomplishments by Take the Lead participants. Last fall Emilie Kimball of Washington, DC, set out to raise money for a women's organization in Ghana for which she volunteered the previous summer, when she was 15. The organization--Women in Progress (WIP)--has helped more than 150 women entrepreneurs start or sustain 26 microbusinesses in Cape Coast, Ghana. After participating in Take the Lead, Kimball manned a WIP booth at October's Green Festival at the Washington Convention Center to help sell colorful batik clothes made by the women. She then sold $1,600 worth of clothes in December at a Christmas bazaar at her brother's school. Most recently, she organized a WIP fundraiser and persuaded Ghana's ambassador in Washington to host and support the event. Kimball has arranged Ghanaian entertainment and catering from a local Ghana café for the event. Her goal is to raise $15,000 for the women's group.
Another recent Take the Lead participant, Shanté Bassett, organized YGI (Youth Get Involved), a community service fair, at her high school in Queens City, New York, in order to combat the stereotype of apathetic teenagers. One hundred students attended the fair and met with representatives from a wide range of organizations that encourage young people to make a difference. YGI has been involved in several community initiatives, including the American Cancer Society's "Making Strides Against Breast Cancer" walk and a mural project to beautify local schools. YGI was named a winner in the Fleet Entrepreneurship Month Competition sponsored by the Citizens Committee for New York City.
In Springfield, Massachusetts, Take the Lead student Suzanne Chipkin launched a weekly tutoring program for recently arrived Somali refugee children, most of whom had had no previous schooling. Fourteen students from Chipkin's high school in Longmeadow, Massachusetts, met with the Somali children once a week for 13 weeks.
Members of the MHC community are invited to nominate up to three women who are now in their sophomore year of high school. President Joanne V. Creighton will write a letter of congratulations to each nominee and invite her to apply. The MHC community received Take the Lead brochures and nomination forms in late February. The completed forms should be returned via campus mail by April 12.