Leaders-in-Training Honored as Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy
Since its launch ten years ago in Boys and Girls Club of Cathedral City (BGCCC)the Leaders in Training (LIT) Program continued to thrive. More than 1,000 young adults have gained work experience, community building skills and a sense of confidence when they need it most.
Each year, 100 young people between the ages of 13 and 17 take part in the one-year programme. Teens get a head start by participating in team building workshops, service projects, career exploration, entrepreneurship, and educational, recreational and cultural enrichment.
Last year, the program pledged to build mobility vehicles for children with lower limb disabilities. Contributors received virtual training from Toyota engineers based in Washington, DC. The leaders then taught 30 middle school students to build six vehicles from scratch. Each includes a manual gas button and safety harnesses and all were offered at the United cerebral palsy and Variety – children’s charity.
The vehicles had their first test drive with a family whose three children have difficulty walking. When one of the girls was placed inside, she immediately took off, smiling broadly. Her unfiltered joy and celebration of her independence touched everyone. There was not a dry eye in the crowd.
Teenagers’ commitment to LIT demonstrates their giving spirit, and it is for this reason that the Leaders in Training program at the Boys & Girls Club of Cathedral City will receive the Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy Award from Association of Desert Fundraising Professionals during the months of November National Desert Philanthropy Day.
“Every time I visit the club, guests are amazed by all the programs and activities we offer,” says Julie Frazier, Chairman of the Board of Directors. BGCCC’s Leaders in Training team has supported many non-profits including Cathedral City Senior Center, FIND a food bank, scrap gallery and Palm Springs Tower. By developing the skills and competencies needed to succeed in today’s world, teens gain self-confidence and become young leaders working for various local businesses.
Sixteen year old participant Romero says: “LIT encourages me to do something I love: helping others!” Yasmine17, says, “LIT helps us meet new people and form strong bonds with others. It teaches us how to help the next generation and make great connections for our future.”
CEO of BGCCC Scott Robinson was fortunate to be Associate Executive Director of one of the original five clubs that launched the LIT program 30 years ago, which is now present in 4,000 boys and girls clubs across America.
“I am extremely proud of our team and our participants, many of whom become managers in training and are hired by other Boys and Girls Clubs,” he said. “Some of our leaders have self-funded and traveled to develop boys and girls clubs in Kauai. LIT has been a game changer in so many lives.”
And what do students say about their team leaders? “SAIs might be somewhere else, but they come to us and find ways to help others in need,” says bella11 years old.
Fate11, says, “I like the way they talk to us. They advise us, guide us and reassure us.
“As you speak with LIT youth, you immediately understand how this program has affected their lives and the lives of others,” says Josh N. Zahid, president of National Philanthropy Day. “They have grown into mature, responsible advocates who understand the positive change they can make.”
The National Philanthropy Day (NPD) Awards will be presented Nov. 4 at 11 a.m. by the Master of Ceremonies patrick evans from KESQ News Channel 3 at the magnificent Renaissance Esmeralda in Indian Wells. Special thanks to the exclusive TV media sponsor of NPD KESQ news channel 3magazine presenter and virtual media sponsor Life in Palm Springs and Newspaper and Digital Media Presenter The desert sun and LOCALiQ.
For more information on sponsorship or to become an AFP member, contact Zahid at [email protected] or (909) 226-1085 or visit afpcadesert.org.
Theresa Maggio is the Director of Business Development for The Competitive Advantage, a business development marketing and revenue generation firm in Palm Desert. She is proud to be a public relations writer for the Association of Fundraising Professionals CA, Desert Communities Chapter.
Gailya Brown is a fundraising consultant with over 25 years of nonprofit fundraising experience. She is a member of the AFP CA Desert Communities chapter and received the 2021 Outstanding Fundraising Professional award.