UNCG Campus Weekly

Campus Weekly is published each Wednesday when classes are in session. In the summer, it is published biweekly.

Leaders in Training

Great leaders aren’t just born, they’re taught. And 124 future leaders are now benefitting from the new Leadership and Mentoring Program – a team effort by UNCG, the YMCA of Greensboro and The Center for Creative Leadership (CCL).

The year-long program, a component of the YMCA’s Black and Latino Achievers program, connects high school students with college students and older adult mentors. Now in its second year, the program has almost doubled its enrollment and is on track to meet its recruitment goal of 160 young people.

The number of mentors has also grown substantially, rising from 12 to 76 mentors. Half of those 76 current mentors are UNCG students. As of December, UNCG students had contributed 531 hours of service.

In addition to providing a mentoring experience for college students, Leadership and Mentoring fits nicely with CCL’s Leadership Beyond Boundaries initiative, which aims to make affordable leadership training available to people across the world, with field offices in such faraway places as Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

“We look at the Leadership and Mentoring component as a holistic community building and leadership effort involving local businesses and nonprofits, high school students and college students,” says Sarah Miller, an innovation associate with CCL. “We want to create a ripple effect; we want to see ripples at all these different levels.”

Those ripples are being felt at UNCG, where Preston Yarborough, assistant director of leadership and project coordinator at the university, has begun incorporating some of the program’s principles into the classes he teaches.

“My classes have new life, and I’m applying new learning styles,” Yarborough says. “This program has been a catalyst and an incubator for leadership development. We often have service initiatives in the community, but what often escapes us is how we can grow and develop as leaders through that service.”

Two groups of students, grades 9-12, meet monthly. Meetings are held on Saturdays, and program cost is $75 per student.

Sessions cover topics such as self-awareness, authentic leadership, leadership and teamwork, effective communication, conflict resolution, values, and setting and achieving goals. Four high school students are generally teamed with a college student mentor and an older adult mentor.

“It’s a dynamic program,” says Joel Wright, innovation associate for CCL. “It’s open to kids from all spectrums, and it helps them choose healthier behaviors and paths in life.

“We talk to them about careers they don’t see every day,” adds Myrna Wigley, director of the Greensboro YMCA’s Achievers Program. “It’s a process of discovery. It puts them in touch with who they are and who they have the potential to be.”

A four-year, $498,000 federal grant, part of the National Recovery Act, funds the program.

For more information, contact Myrna Wigley at myrna.wigley@ymcagreensboro.org or Joel Wright at wrightj@ccl.org.