Julie Griffin, Program Director for Golden LEAF Scholars Leadership, spoke about the internship programs available to students in our county and state.
Rotary member Carol Burke invited Griffin to join them, and speak to the club about the opportunity offered after meeting with Griffin and visiting the campus in Greensboro.
Last week, Matt Edwards, president of the Rotary Club, started a new challenge within the club to write a check during birthday announcements, one of which was his own. The challenge was for members to make a donation in the same amount of their birthday candles.
Edwards stated in the last meeting he would have to write the first IOU in the history of the club, and he made good on that birthday debt this week.
After announcements of birthdays, donations were collected and guests of members were announced.
Burke explained how the program affected her personally as she has an intern, Lauren Henderson, who works with her through the sponsorship of Golden LEAF Scholars Leadership.
Griffin spoke on the importance of the program within the rural communities and the opportunities it provides for students.
Griffin began working for the Center for Creative Learning (CCL) in 1999, noting that there was little to no chances for high school students to receive leadership training.
That’s when the center reached out and was offered help by the Golden LEAF Scholarship foundation eight years ago.
The program has grown from 99 students to more than 400 students.
The Golden LEAF awarded the CCL $2.5 million dollars to fund the program for the 2015-16 year and has awarded more than $32 million to reach 13,700 students over the program’s existence.
With that money, 215 students are awarded an academic scholarship upon graduation every year.
For students awarded scholarships:
High school seniors are eligible for a four-year scholarship totaling $12,000 ($3,000 a year over four years).
Community college transfer students are eligible for $3,000 a year for up to 3 years.
Years of scholarship support are subject to the number of credits transferred and the degree sought, among other eligibility factors.
Of those recipient, 120 scholars are chosen to participate in an eight-month program.
The program opens with a three-day conference in January. Griffin said participants receive the same leadership content for which organizers charge business executives $10,000 a week.
“We want our scholars to not just go to college, but to go and become a leader,” Griffin said.
The students are placed with a counselor in their county or a surrounding county to help guide them through the program, and secure a paid internship after graduating the program.
The students are given a summer project to complete, with the help of the counselor.
After completing the project and securing their internship, the students gather for a closing conference and celebration.
The goal is to set students from rural and economically challenged areas up for success, by having three to four years of experience working in the field they have chosen.
Currently, according to Griffin, 40 percent of people living in rural areas in North Carolina are over the age of 45 and 20 percent of people do not have a high school diploma.
“This program really sets those students apart, in the workforce,” added Griffin.
Reach Eva Queen at (336) 415-4739 or [email protected]