October 11, 2002
the Lead at Mount Holyoke
wants to organize a job fair for the homeless in Boston. Another
wants to help Mexican migrant families. A third hopes to use tape-recorded
stories to connect mothers in prison with their young children.
In all, forty-three high school juniors, each with her own plan
for making a positive change in the world, will converge on MHC
to take part in Take the Lead, the College's annual teen leadership
conference that will take place October 1720.
Close to four hundred
high school students from across the country, who were nominated
by their counselors, teachers, religious or community leaders,
and other adult mentors, applied to participate in Take the Lead.
They were chosen 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.
The participants also tend to be at the top 5 percent of their
class and are leaders within and beyond their schools.
The four-day conference
will offer each participant the opportunity to hone leadership
skills. All students will attend workshops on team building and
public speaking, and they can choose to participate in additional
workshops on fundraising/
budgeting, time management, community organizing, and getting
publicity. Each Take the lead participant will be paired with
a Mount Holyoke student who has been trained by the Weissman Center
Throughout the weekend,
the participants will develop a plan that addresses an issue that
they feel passionate about. Projects from last year included a
play about capital punishment, flower planting in an inner-city
neighborhood, and diversity training for high school teachers.
Each MHC mentor will work one-on-one with a Take the Lead participant
to develop the younger student's action project. The mentor
will continuing to offer advice, feedback, and support by email
for up to six months. The College will award $500 prizes to three
completed action plans.
Guest speakers for
the program are Alexandra Gromko '91, an Emmy award-winning
news anchor with ABC affiliate WTVQ-TV in Lexington, Kentucky;
Simisola Sanni '97, who helped to create and headed a new
Junior Achievement program in Nigeria; and Patricia VandenBerg,
director of Take the Lead and the College's executive director
of communications and strategic initiatives. She is a nationally
recognized authority on communications and leading change.