Youth Education Program Aims To Cultivate The Next Generation Of Diversity Leaders

Lead for Diversity participants take part in a pre-program training session (Photo courtesy of American Conference on Diversity)

Lead for Diversity participants take part in a pre-program training session (Photo courtesy of American Conference on Diversity)

NEW BRUNSWICK – While most teens will be jumping into swimming pools this summer, sophomores, juniors, and seniors from dozens of public, private, and charter high schools throughout New Jersey will dive into diversity learning in July as delegates of the American Conference on Diversity’s 19th Annual Lead for Diversity (LFD).

The yearlong program kickoff will be held at the Pocono Environmental Education Center in Dingmans Ferry, Pa., where college students and professionals who volunteer will help mentor the delegates along their journey of discovering the real value of diversity. LFD will include a series of workshops and group activities on socioeconomics, religion, ability status, sexual orientation, race, gender, and other diversity-focused topics. Designed to build social-awareness, leadership, conflict-resolution, and cross-cultural communication skills, the experiential learning activities equip delegates to recognize and advocate for more inclusive communities.

This year’s delegation represents more than 20 different schools in 9 counties and 12 school districts in NJ. During the week, delegates will work with their peers, school advisors, and ACOD volunteers to create action plans that will be implemented during the 2013-2014 school year to address challenges unique to their communities. The action plans will engage their high school peers, teachers, and administrators in outcome-driven programs that build more inclusive schools and help reduce bullying, name calling, derogatory language, and bias incidents on their campuses.

“WOW, what an amazing program! I was energized by the level of engagement, honesty, candor, and commitment shown by all participants. The content of the program was highly relevant to the rapidly changing diversity of the U.S. marketplace,” said LFD program visitor Angela Guy, SVP of Diversity & Inclusion at L’Oreal USA and a member of the American Conference on Diversity Board of Trustees. “The schools that support this program are really setting the standard by sending student leaders to the program to be the voice of change. These leaders will return to their schools with highly relevant tools that can jumpstart an inclusive environment; one that celebrates the potential that each student has to offer their schools, families, and communities, today and in the future.”

Participating institutions for Lead for Diversity 2013 are: Absegami High School; Bayonne High School; Bergen County Academies; Big Brothers Big Sisters of Essex, Hudson & Union Counties; Cedar Creek High School; Franklin High School; Freehold Township High School; Gill St. Bernard’s School; Haddonfield Memorial High School; Howell High School; Kearny High School; Lakewood High School; Marlboro High School; Piscataway High School; Princeton Day School; St. Benedict’s Preparatory School; Saint Vincent Academy; Secaucus High School; Spotswood High School; University Academy Charter High School; and William L. Dickinson High School.

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