The Future Leaders Program is a unique service learning initiative that combines a classroom curriculum with community service opportunities. Students in the program receive instruction focused around preparing the students for a life outside of high school. These lessons vary greatly from leadership development to personal finance. The ultimate goal of the Future Leaders Program is to provide students with the intangible life and job skills they need to continue their professional development; either through college or through full-time, meaningful employment.
In an effort to truly reach some of our community’s neediest students, we piloted a program at a college preparatory open-enrollment charter school called the “Future Leader Initiative”. The goal of this pilot program was to mentor and teach students from a unique set of lesson plans not found in a traditional school environment. Regardless of whether the student’s goal was a career or a college path, our curriculum was developed to help students grow, learn, and mature. Lessons ranged from learning to build benches and planters on campus in order to develop construction skills and provide students with a sense of civic pride, to lessons aimed at reinforcing classroom lesson like public speaking, mathematics, and critical thinking. Although this was tested in a relatively small pool of students on a small scale, we did see marked improvement in behavioral qualities like respect, attendance, and responsibility over the course of the semester’s club. Students also demonstrated increased marketable life skills like attention to detail, initiative, and leadership potential.