Greensboro, N.C. – With support from a major federal grant, the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL®) in Greensboro will help put dozens of young people on the path to success. The Center has received a $498,203 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant to expand its leadership and mentoring program for youth with the Greensboro YMCA. The grant will enable CCL and the YMCA to increase the capacity of the current Black and Hispanic Achievers Leadership & Mentoring Program from a one- to four-year curriculum, and from 40 youth and 20 mentors at one YMCA to 160 youth and 80 mentors at four YMCAs. The grant was awarded through the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
“The recession has squeezed many of the resources our community usually relies on to mentor and develop our young people,” said CCL President John Ryan. “So this grant comes at a crucial time, making it possible to expand much-needed services to dozens of young men and women in our area. CCL is honored to receive these funds and to partner with the YMCA on a program that literally changes lives for the better.”
In 2007, CCL began working with the YMCA to develop the leadership and mentoring component of the Black and Hispanic Achievers program. The Achievers program works with youth ages 13-18 to improve academic performance, teach leadership, job and social skills which all helps to reduce delinquent and risky behaviors. CCL will use the grant funds to enhance and expand the program to include three more YMCAs – the Ragsdale, Spears and Reidsville Ys. The program begins in September and will bring together students and mentors each month throughout the school year.
“Senator Kay Hagan’s efforts have provided us with a wonderful opportunity to work not only with the Center for Creative Leadership but also with a vital aspect of the Y’s mission and strategic plan — mentoring youth. We’re thrilled to partner with CCL in this effort,” said Greg Jones, president and CEO of the Greensboro YMCA.
Along with the investment in local youth, the federal grant will create four new coordinator jobs at the YMCA and ensure retention of 10 to 12 jobs at the YMCA and CCL. It also will provide internships for young people with local businesses and organizations, establishing an employee pipeline for the future. CCL and the YMCA are seeking community volunteers to be mentors, as well as companies and agencies to provide summer internships for the young achievers.
In addition, the grant provides for leadership development training for the mentors, which can make them more effective leaders on their jobs.
“We see this as a capacity-building initiative working with the YMCA to expand its capabilities so it can sustain this program and ultimately serve more youth in the area,” said Joel Wright, a developer of the Youth Achievers program for CCL. “From the beginning of this relationship, the YMCA and CCL have seen this as an opportunity to design and develop a program that would not only benefit the Greensboro community but could also be adopted by other organizations and communities around the world … after all youth empowerment and leadership development is needed everywhere.”