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NEXGEN program teaches leadership skills

Juniors Abby Shavers and Ella Tichy learned leadership and other skills through the Leadership Southern Indiana NEXGEN youth program that they plan to continue to apply throughout their life. They attended three virtual sessions and an in-person session (which included graduation) this school year to improve their financial literacy, life skills, and leadership skills.

Ella, a member of the House of Humility, said she signed up to participate because she wanted to become a better leader as a way to help her community and practice philanthropy. What she most got out of the sessions was how to work better as a team, which actually has its own skill set.

“You had to work with other people without overpowering anyone or not doing anything and letting everyone else do the work,” Ella said.

Ella and Abby were in the same group of about 17 students, and their group was tasked with supporting the non-profit organization Align Southern Indiana and its kindergarten readiness efforts. The organization, which works to bring together community resources and implement solutions to problems in the five Southern Indiana counties, came up with a $10,000 wish list of items for their group to fulfill.

Each member was tasked with raising funds in order to purchase those items. Ella reached out to her fellow parishioners at St. John Paul II Catholic Community, whose contributions totaled about $1,000.

Abby, who is a junior executive delegate for the House of Courage, helped her House organize a Candy Gram drive to bring cheer to Providence students and raise money for the wish list. The Candy Gram drive gave students the opportunity to have candy and an encouraging note delivered for $1 each and raised $168. Abby said she liked being able to explain to students about the purpose of the fundraising and seeing them go from being hesitant to buy a Candy Gram to being eager to buy one.

Ella said she originally was skeptical the group could meet its goal and doubted that each member would participate. Yet everyone did raise different amounts, including organizing a fundraiser at a local restaurant. Together, they met their $10,000 goal.

“It made me feel good,” Ella said. “We all just worked together.”

Working together was more challenging than if all the sessions were held in person, both girls said, especially as they learned to work through technical difficulties. Getting the word out about their fundraiser was also more difficult, but the group overcame all those challenges to succeed.

Abby said she also learned a lot about how mental health impacted communities since each session included a speaker presenting on a different mental health topic. She and Ella encourage the sophomore students to sign up for next year’s class because of all they learned.

“Everything we talked about, whether it was mental health or financial literacy or life skills, it was all tied into becoming a better leader within our community,” Abby said.

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Two juniors learn leadership, business skills

Juniors Landon Kruer and Drew Juliot have enjoyed the opportunity to further develop their leadership skills and learn about the local business world. The two have nearly completed their semester-long membership in NEXGEN, a youth leadership and civic involvement course sponsored by Leadership Southern Indiana. Next semester, junior Ryley Gunther will participate.

Landon and Drew attended a monthly field trip touring regional businesses, colleges, and historic sites to learn from professional and community leaders. They visited locally owned businesses such as Samtec to learn about the manufacturing industry, arc Construction Management to learn about entrepreneurship, and Schimpff’s Confectionery to learn about a legacy family business.

They also learned about philanthropy and community service, including painting homes at St. Elizabeth Catholic Charities. Landon and Drew will also join the NEXGEN group in volunteering during Metro United Way’s Build-A-Bed Day on Dec. 7, which is the agency’s effort to provide beds to children in need.

Landon said he wanted to take part in the program because he wanted to explore whether a career in business would be a good fit for him. He is glad he did because he not only learned about various types of businesses and from business leaders, which helped him grow as a leader.

“It allowed me to become a better leader and develop my communication skills – and how to communicate with people even if they have different views than me,” he said.

Drew said he enjoyed the opportunity “to learn how to become a future leader in the community,” he said. He especially liked hearing from arc founder Alan Muncy and learning his story.

“This was my favorite because it was inspiring the way he overcame all the obstacles in his life to create a multi-million-dollar company,” Drew said. “From these sessions I have learned how to become a great leader and also how everything in life isn’t going to go your way, and there will be ups and downs.”

Drew said he recommends this year’s sophomores to sign up in the spring for next year’s program.

“It is a great experience where you get to meet many new people and learn new things,” Drew said.

Landon and Drew will graduate on Dec. 13.

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Students learn about community through NEXGEN

Again this year, four juniors are representing Providence by their participation in NEXGEN, a program of Leadership Southern Indiana that works to engage and develop future regional community leaders who will serve and transform our community. This year’s participants are Annie Gettelfinger, Alex Henderson, Annmarie Tichy and Tyler Upton.

Juniors Annmarie Tichy, Tyler Upton and Annie Gettelfinger are three of the four PHS participants in this year’s NEXGEN program.

This year, the group is divided into two teams, with Tyler and Annmarie on one, and Annie and Alex on the other, along with juniors from high schools throughout the region. Last week, Tyler and Annmarie’s group took part in the fourth of six sessions for the year, Economy and Enterprise Day.

The students attended a breakfast with business leaders from companies throughout the community and featuring speakers Clark County Sheriff Jamey Noel ’89 and Floyd County Sheriff Frank Loop. The group then traveled by bus to several sites, starting in downtown Jeffersonville at the site of the Towneplace Suites Marriott Hotel project being built by ARC Construction at the corner of Mulberry and Maple streets. ARC President and CEO Alan Muncy, then gave them a tour of the ARC office. Next, the students were given driving tour of River Ridge Commerce Center industrial park on the east side of Jeffersonville guided by Dustin Coffman, River Ridge director of finance and marketing. The day also included a stop at Clark Regional Airport and a tour of Samtec, an electronic connectors manufacturer in New Albany.

Tyler said he likes that the NEXGEN class days offer a chance to meet community leaders and officials and to see how government, businesses and other sectors in the community work. He especially liked the most recent day and the visit to the airport because he wants to have a career as a pilot.

“One thing I learned is that our community is growing rapidly,” he said. “That means that I can have a fulfilling and successful career in my community.”

Annie said she likes how she gets to meet so many students from area high schools. She also enjoyed working on her team’s nonprofit project. Her team raised money at Christmastime to buy gifts for foster children living at Family Ark in Jeffersonville.

Tyler and Annmarie’s team has been paired with the Falls of the Ohio for its nonprofit partner. His team is working on a trifold brochure to encourage more engagement from school-age children at the state park in Clarksville.

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