DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – A program here is helping prepare the next generation of leaders. Friday, more than thirty high school juniors involved in Junior Leadership Dayton (JLD) took part in “Make a Difference in Your Community Day.”
Each year, the Dayton Foundation, Wright State University and the YMCA of Greater Dayton select several dozen Miami Valley students to participate in Junior Leadership Dayton, an 9-month extra curricular program focusing on philanthropy and civic engagement.
“A big part of this is being able to do many things around the community, being involved and just a having a positive outlook and looking to help people in the community,” explained Noah Garel, a junior at Centerville High School.
Friday’s outing during school hours emphasized the importance of volunteerism. The students began with a tour around the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, a performance studio dedicated to promoting diversity and equal opportunities.
They then split into two groups, dividing their time between the Dayton Foodbank and the YWCA of Dayton. Organization staff guided the groups through the facilities, explaining non-profits’ missions and volunteer opportunities.
Dayton Foundation program officer Aiyana Marcus said showing community issues and the current non-profits addressing them broadens the students’ perspectives.
“They’ll be mindful of the community and understand how their individual actions can contribute positively to the overall health of the region,” Marcus said.
Many of the students said they hope to bring what they learn in Junior Leadership Dayton back to their communities and use the knowledge as a base for future endeavors.
“Eventually we’re going to become the leaders,” said Julia Guzman, a junior at Oakwood High School. “People are going to want to follow us, so we’re going to have to have a good example for them.”
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