20 Sep Youth Leadership Summit

Throughout the year, the YOC’s dedicated staff members teach life skills and help build self-confidence in the children in their care.  Just because itís summer break doesnít mean that the learning stops. Each summer the YOC campus is humming with activities and enrichment opportunities for its residents.

This year, the YOC hosted its third annual Youth Leadership Summit (YLS). Based upon subject interest gathered from upper-level high school students, real world professionals are invited to share information about their industry with the students in a hands-on, interactive event. This is a way for them to learn how their unique interests can lead them toward satisfying and successful career choices.

Daniel Stewart, owner of Lucky Rabbit Tattoos and a YOC Foundation Board member, spoke to a group of students who expressed an interest in visual arts. He explained how his love of drawing transitioned into a satisfying career and ultimately a successful business. He stressed that itís ok not to know exactly what you want to be at first. He suggested trying different things, but be persistent in your efforts – even when it isn’t always easy, tough times build character.

“If everything was easy, you wouldn’t appreciate the good times when they came along,” he explained.

On another part of the YOC’s campus, Chef Ryan Bell and culinary student Matthew Hunter from Ivy Tech were busy leading a group of students in preparing a delicious meal of pulled pork barbecue, accompanied by a creamy cilantro-lime slaw, all from scratch.

“The kids weren’t the only ones who were excited about the opportunity to participate in the Leadership Summit. We’re passionate about our work,” Matthew stated. “Anytime we can steer someone into our profession, we jump on the opportunity”

Wrapping-up the event was Keynote Speaker Jeffrey Howe, Region President of Old National Bank. His motivational talk focused on each individualís ability to decide what their attitude will be. He also spoke about overcoming life’s obstacles. Nik Sloan, YOC Independent Living Coordinator said,

“The Youth Leadership Summit’s hands-on-activities and conversations with adult volunteers make a lasting impact on these residents. Our hope for this Summit is that residents will develop a curiosity about their career of interest and begin to develop a plan to reach their personal goals after they leave the YOC.”

The YOC would like to thank the Walmart Foundation Community Grants Program and Store #3747, E. 29th Street in Muncie, for sponsoring the YLS. We would also like to thank the volunteers, as well as Keynote Speaker Jeffrey Howe.

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