This year’s class included 19 students from both Muskegon Public Schools and Grand Haven Area Public Schools.
The purpose of the Lakeshore Youth Leadership program is to cultivate leadership qualities in students from the communities of Grand Haven and Muskegon. Each year, about 20 students from eighth and 10th grades are selected from Grand Haven and Muskegon public schools to participate in the program.
The students gain enhanced personal skills and the capacity to create change as leaders. In addition, they obtain a better understanding of each community as well as learning to respect the similarities and differences of each area.
The 2015-16 class developed the motto “Building Bridges — Breaking Stereotypes,” which summarizes how they learned that building relationships and connections allows you to break down the misconceptions or stereotypes that you might have about another community.
At the March 29 graduation celebration, the students shared the impact this leadership program has had on them. The students expressed how they learned that each school is very similar in terms of academic courses and that teachers have the same expectations. They also discussed how participating in community service activities impacted them to view each community as having similar concerns and needs.
In addition, several students shared that knowledge of how similar the areas are impacts them to speak the truth about each community and provide an accurate perspective to their peers.
To learn more about Lakeshore Youth Leadership Connections, call Nancy Manglos at the Chamber of Commerce Grand Haven-Spring Lake-Ferrysburg at 616-842-0529.