Youth Leadership program
The mission of the Youth Leadership program is to teach leadership, personal development, and entrepreneurial skills to youth in Shaw.
This program was started because many of the high school students who volunteered with us in the summer of 2015 wanted to learn leadership skills. We began this program in January 2016 with 10 students. Now, we have 18 students participating in our weekly programs, retreats, summer internships, and college visits.
The youth leaders meet weekly to complete activities in 4 areas:
- Personal Development/Leadership
- College Preparation
- Business/Money Management
Our Youth Leaders are required to volunteer as part of their curriculum. They volunteer with beautification projects in Shaw, such as painting, cleaning, and picking up trash. They also volunteer with Delta Hands for Hope's summer camp by planning and carrying out activities for the younger children. They also volunteer after camp by completing their daily chores, and working with any incoming volunteer groups on additional projects.
The youth have become very passionate about volunteering and giving back. Our youth leaders currently account for approximately 1/3 of our total volunteer hours.
In July 2016, the youth leaders traveled to Dallas, TX for our very first mission trip. For many years, Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas has brought teams to volunteer with us in Shaw. This year, they invited us to come to their community to volunteer with several of their mission partners. We volunteered with 4 other agencies in Dallas. This teaches the youth leaders that although we need additional help and resources in Shaw, they also have skills and talents that they can use in other communities.
The youth leaders participate in quarterly retreats. During these retreats, we tour different colleges and universities. They learn about different educational opportunities, scholarship opportunities, and different courses of study. During this time, they also experience new places. By exposing these impressionable youth to different places and activities, they will have a broader mindset, and can dream bigger!
We also place a big importance on reciprocal relationships. Oftentimes, our volunteers and partnering churches invite us to their community to tour colleges in their hometowns.
So far, we have gone on retreats in Jackson, MS (with host Northminster Baptist Church), Hattiesburg, MS (with host University Baptist Church), and Starkville, MS (with host University Baptist Church).