Youth leadership Day unites students, makes difference in community

Seniors participate in an activity during Youth Leadership Day.

Seniors participate in an activity during Youth Leadership Day.

United Way is a national organization that focuses on resolving community issues and making a positive impact through partnerships with schools, businesses and local governments.

The local United Way chapter sponsors a youth leadership cabinet that brings students from A&M Consolidated, Bryan, Collegiate and Rudder High schools together to impact the Brazos Valley.

“During the first meeting of the year every one is really timid, every one is shy,” senior Denzel Brown said, “but as we move into the year and we’re all collaborating together and incorporating each other’s ideas we become good friends.”

Members of the Youth Leadership Cabinet work throughout the year to plan events and fundraisers to raise awareness and money for the organization.

“I’m a member of the Youth Leadership Cabinet, which makes all the decisions,” Brown said. “The parents or other people who run United Way put it in our hands. They let us makes the decisions; they just help carry it out.”

United Way helps students become better people and show them that they can also make a difference in the community.

“It gives students an opportunity to be more involved in their community,” senior and Youth Cabinet Co-Chair Nash Porter said. “It also increasing their knowledge of what can be done to help out in the Brazos Valley.”

This year the Youth Cabinet hosted the annual Leadership Day on September 28, which allowed students from area schools to visit United Way agencies. Most agencies depend on volunteers to support their work and this event provides an opportunity to make those needs known.

“There are way more volunteer opportunities in the community than what I previously thought,” senior Dylan Hart said. “It’s nice to see all our schools come together.”

The goal of the Leadership Day is to help students become aware of the needs in their community and what they can do to help.

“I want students to take away the fact that every one of them has the opportunity to impact their community and through this program they [were given the opportunity to see] how each person makes a difference,” AVID teacher Brie Garcia said. “If they work together they can start making a difference and help the community now and in the future.”

United Way not only emphasizes the importance of volunteering and giving back to the community, but the leadership roles students can take in order to create change.

“I hope that the students understand that leadership begins with service to others. You can’t be a good leader unless you first choose to serve other people and empower them,” Speech teacher Cassandra Kilgore said. “Dr. Wallis talks about how we should ‘Be the one’, the one person to make a difference, and it could start right here in the classroom.”