This month, more than 40 second-graders in the Geneva School District gathered with student and staff leaders from the HWS Centennial Center for Leadership in North Street Elementary School’s cafeteria to explore the concept of diversity.
To supplement the North Street Leaders Program, representatives from CCL met with small groups of students to discuss what it means to be diverse — in religion, race, gender, ethnicity and culture — and to reflect on various interpretations of the term.
This diversity workshop through the Youth Leadership Program — following on the heels of the success of a similar semester-long program at West Street School — is designed to increase community leadership by engaging the youths of Geneva.
“We see the value in working with our young leaders,” says Solomé Rose, Global and Community Leadership Fellow at CCL. “It is never too early to engage in leadership development. Encouraging our youth to have important discussions on diversity is essential for their personal growth and for their leadership development.”
The program stems from the Youth Leadership College which allows HWS student leaders to aid the leadership development of second-, third- and fourth-graders in support of the Geneva 2020 initiative.
“Through practicum opportunities like the Youth Leadership College and other youth related leadership opportunities, our HWS students have the ability to use the skills and knowledge they gained from the HWS Leads program to facilitate and develop leadership workshops,” Rose says.
During the workshop, students defined and articulated various conceptions of diversity, made “idea webs” depicting their identities, and engaged in a “common ground” activity that helped them find commonalities.
Next semester, at the request of the North Street principal, CCL will also host a Global Leadership Program, featuring workshops to expose students to futures opportunities of global engagement.