“I’ve experienced more personal growth in the past semester than I have in my entire life.
– Young Leader
In the Lead is a strengths based leadership program for high school students that incorporates both mentoring and volunteering components.
The In the Lead program is a semester long program that runs one 90 min class per week along with one group volunteering event per month and regularly connecting one on one with an adult volunteer Coach.
For the Young Leaders, the first two weeks of class, and for the Coaches, two ½ day training sessions will take place before Coach/Young Leaders meet each other in a group event.
Following the meet-up day, classes and volunteering run until the end of the semester where we wrap up with an In the Lead graduation ceremony where friends and family attend.
Strength Based Learning
Many young people who face challenges growing up have strengths that are sometimes used in ways that can be harmful to themselves or to the communities they live in. In the Lead is helping these young people discover their strengths by showing them ways in which they can use them for their own benefit and for the benefit of others. We focus on what is strong in our students as opposed to what is wrong. While they are moving away from focusing on what doesn’t work in their lives, In the Lead provides them with an opportunity to move towards what does work. This approach leads to more thoughtful, engaged, caring young members of the community.
The In the Lead curriculum is based on 7 core leadership competencies identified by Resiliency Initiatives Canada, an authority in strengths based training education and measurement. The 7 core leadership competencies are the framework used for character and leadership development within weekly classes. In the Lead also explores the practical aspect of leadership through group volunteering events where all of the participants actively engage in group activities that give back to the community.
Each month, the In the Lead classes participate in extra-curricular group volunteering events throughout the community. We have discovered three main benefits to incorporating the volunteering activities with the In the Lead Program:
Leadership and life skill development within the In the Lead program is enhanced by the presence of a volunteer adult mentor/coach from within the community. Coaches volunteer from local corporations and are trained by the In the Lead team to provide individual support to students.
Volunteer Coaches foster the development of strengths through one on one meetings and ongoing communication throughout the semester. Coaches also participate in the group volunteering activities which allows for additional opportunities to connect and relate to their Young Leader.