On April 21st, we celebrated the graduation of eighteen, 5th-grade youth leaders from our 2017 Youth Leadership Program, Students Helping to Influence Environments with Leadership & Diversity (SHIELD). During the 10-week program, students learned leadership skills by participating in various team-based projects. This was the first time this program was made available to students at Roosevelt Elementary School. The course was taught by Christine LaTorres, a recent graduate of Pace University’s Master’s degree program in Special Education.

Each student came away with his/her unique perspective on what leadership means. According to 5th grader, Naszhir, “Leadership means being nice to others, and if people see what you’ve done, they will probably do the same thing.”

Naszhir’s heartfelt sentiments are nicely matched by LaTorres’s observation that, “Their thoughts on leadership and diversity were very insightful and wise beyond their young years. … I was very excited to be a part of such a great program and to work with such awesome student leaders in the making.”

Read more about why the Brieant Youth Alliance believes in developing leadership skills in youth. Please visit (and like!) our facebook page to see photos from the graduation event.