By NINA CRISCUOLO
PITTSBURG, KAN. - Southeast Kansas students are learning leadership skills Friday so that they might have brighter futures.
Using simple activities the Youth Leadership Program has been working with sixth grade students for five years now.
"Inherently they have leadership skills, it's just bringing them the tools to bring them out and channel them," says Dawn McNay, the Youth Leadership Facilitator.
The program brings community volunteers into sixth grade classrooms to teach students how to be effective leaders.
"It lets the students hear those positive lessons from one more adult in their life and to reinforce that," says Sixth grade teacher Lynett Wescott.
Students say the program shows them leading by example is the way to go:
"Because they do the right thing and they like help others," says Kae'rhe Henderson.
"A lot of people can like say what they want to say but it takes a real person to actually do the stuff," says Autumn Thoennes.
"What society says is a leader isn't necessarily what makes an effective leader," McNay says. "Sometimes it's an individual sitting in church that's quietly doing things. So that's why we try to teach leadership skills in that context."
The youth leadership facilitator hope these lessons stay with the students long after they leave these hallways.
"As we know, pressures on youth are presented younger and younger and this was a good jumping off point for their secondary education," says McNay.
But the students plan on using these skills long after high school.
"When we're older and we have responsibilities we'll know how to handle them," says Jaycee Bright.
"When you're older and you, like, try to run for something like president of a club, like the leader of a club, you'll have to know all this stuff," Henderson says.
The youth leadership program says it is students like these that will become empowered leaders tomorrow because of these positive influences.
The youth leadership program will continue to visit schools throughout Crawford County through April.
Students involved will then celebrate their leadership skills at a banquet in May.
The program is sponsored by the Pittsburg area chamber foundation.