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Honoring Our Future Leaders

By LaDon G. McNeil

“Leadership is a combination of strategy and character. If you must be without one, be without the strategy.”

Youth Leadership Institute graduation ceremony was held on Thurs., Apr. 17th at the University of Michigan – Flint, with 21 graduates from 7 different schools.

This year’s graduates were: Danae Bush, Morgyn Johnson, Christian Jones, Courtney King, Flushing High School; Brooklyn Golden, Genesee Early College; Markyia Douglas, Joseph Eason, Kiara McDougal, Grand Blanc High School; Cryanna Hodge, Madison High School;  Joinna Brown, Roniece Silk, Brenda Swann, Ty’teanna Thomas, Mott Middle College; Starr Payne, Mt. Morris High School; Donta Hampton, Shyteanna Thomas, Northwestern High School; Saddiq Ali, Rueben Harvey, Shakira Hodge, Anthony Sanders, Jessiman Wilson; Southwestern High School.

Youth Leadership is an eight week program designed to teach positive community leadership for Flint area youth in grades 9th through 12th. Students are selected based on several criteria and referrals. The Institute covered topics such as teenage health, leadership/communication skills, civic engagement, career/vocational Skills, count down to college and many other topics.

This Institute was the vision of Former Representative Floyd Clack in 1985. After sharing his vision with his wife, current County Commissioner Brenda Clack, Lenore Croudy, Gary Burks, Brenda Kimble, Lolanda Johnson, Clinton Jones, Gerald Matthews, Sandra Epps, Billy Thompson and Ira Rutherford; the wheels were set into motion.

“The Institute was totally funded from the community. Businesses, individuals and community organizations contributed to the institute,” said Floyd Clack. The first class was comprised of 75 students of whom 58 graduated.

Current Board Members are the aforementioned Clacks, Croudy, Rutherford, Barbara Bouknight, Grace Glass, Shirley Johnson, County Commissioner Omar Sims, Reta Stanley, Ayanaa Fordham, Mary Ross, Mancine Broome, Tawanna Parks, and Gloria Crawley.

On a personal note, I can attest that Youth Leadership Institute is well worth the 8 week commitment. My daughter Mia is a graduate and has great memories of the 8 week session. She still has the certificate she received from Representative Floyd Clack over 15 years ago. Please join me in congratulating the 2014 graduates and thanking the board members for a job well done.

If you know of students in grades 9th through 12th who would be interested in attending this very worthwhile program, please encourage them to contact their high school counselor for information on the next 8 week session.

Thought to Remember: “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way.”

As always have a blessed week and remember only what you do for Christ will last.

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