In a small room in the basement of Woodlawn Social Services building, a group of thirteen students are having a meeting of the minds. They are having a discussion with Project Exploration’s Development Communications and Data Coordinator, Josh Fox, about their personal apprehensions to writing. Josh nods his head intently as he listens to students from high school and college share their personal feelings about blogging and writing. It is a beautiful day in the city of Chicago, but these students are inside of a classroom setting learning about writing. How is something like this possible?
On June 20 & 22, 2012, Project Exploration held our first Leadership Institute, comprised of students who will serve as team leaders, teaching assistants, student interns, and student coordinators for the upcoming summer. Many of these positions will require students to work directly with their peers in a more advanced capacity, or will place them inside of a laboratory-based internship. With the increased amount of responsibility, Project Exploration decided to help equip them with the tools to prepare them for this new experience.
The group began day one of the two-day program by determining a definition for “leadership” and “institute.” Once students established that they were part of a group with shared values, they dove right into learning about being a stellar employee. Institute participants got a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the role of the Human Resource Department (and all it’s accompanying paperwork!) and received workforce development training. They returned on Friday for a day-long blogging workshop, at which they learned helpful tips on being a good writer, such as: write everything down/edit later, read as much as possible, and keep a dictionary on hand. After finishing the first half of day two by refining their writing samples, the team walked over to the YWCA Laura Parks and Mildred Francis Center to spend the afternoon learning the technical skills for blogging from Erik Vecchione, Project Exploration’s Senior Manager of Marketing and Technology.
Armed with these new tools, the Leadership Institute students are prepared to take on summer and the challenge of being peer leaders. Stay tuned to our blog to read updates from these dynamic leaders as they hone their leadership and communication skills.