OUR PEOPLE: Success Leadership Program Helps our Middle School Students Support Local Charities in their Own Communities

OUR PEOPLE: Success Leadership Program Helps our Middle School Students Support Local Charities in their Own Communities

The Success Leadership program helps students learn key principals to inspire and empower them to assume leadership roles at their school and in their lives and to practice these roles by helping others in their communities.

On February 28th-March 2nd, 31 students, 2 teachers, and 3 parent chaperones from Breakthrough Magnet School attended the Success Leadership Conference at the Hulbert Outdoor Center in Vermont to kick off the 2017 Success Leadership Program.  During the three day conference Hulbert staff engaged participants in teambuilding exercises, leadership and community project session to help students learn how to work together and lead their schools in projects that help their community. Students also enjoyed short hikes, walks around the lake, barn hockey and other activities. Staff provided games and entertainment to finish out their long days of hard work.

Each of the elements of the conference was designed to help students learn our leadership philosophy and to provide opportunities to apply this knowledge. Teambuilding activities helped students to appreciate the strengths they bring to the group and to recognize the strengths of others on their team. Students discussed the many roles that a leader may take on as well as different leadership styles.

Leadership workshops were based on the Aloha Foundation’s Success Counseling model which is used as the core training program for all staff at their three residential summer camps, summer day camp, family camp, and the Hulbert Outdoor Center. This model draws from William Glasser’s Choice Theory and challenges students to identify and utilize their own unique talents and those of their team members. In addition, this model emphasizes the power of each student to choose to be their best selves in each situation, to practice effective communication and motivation techniques, and to bring their talents and knowledge to the service of their communities.

The community project element of this program helps students understand how to use their time, treasure, and talent to build a strong community and help those in need around them. At the Success Leadership Conference students discussed the elements that help build strong, healthy communities, and the definition and importance of nonprofits. Students researched local nonprofit organizations to learn about needs in their community and how they can be addressed. By the end of the conference students had identified 4 organizations that they would like to present to the rest of the school and to support through projects and the donation of their Community Fund money set up by the Hulbert Outdoor Center and sponsored by Day Pitney Law Firm in Hartford.

Students create gifts for clients of East Hartford Community Shelter, Gardner’s House, HARC, and the McKinney Shelter

Throughout the month of March students prepared and delivered a presentation to the rest of their school about what they have learned and the nonprofits they researched; they invited all students to vote for the nonprofit that they would like to receive their community fund money. On March 30th, they lead a Community Day during which all students at Breakthrough will engage in activities that serve the nonprofits and their community. Also on Community Day, student leaders will meet with representatives from each nonprofit as well as an attorney from Day Pitney Law Firm to hear more about each organization and how they can continue to support their community. The student leaders presented a check to the organization selected by the students. Students in the leadership group will take time following the Community Day to reflect on their experience and to consider how they can continue to be leaders and philanthropists in their community.

The Breakthrough student leaders chose the following nonprofit organizations to present to their school: East Hartford Community Shelter, Gardner’s House, HARC, and the McKinney Shelter. The students selected Gardner’s House as the recipient of their Community Fund.  (In photo at top of page, the 7th grade students present their check to Maggie Gardner, Gardner’s House Founder and CEO.)

The Hulbert Outdoor Center has pledged $250 to establish Breakthrough’s their Community Fund. Day Pitney Law Firm of Hartford has generously pledged an additional $250 to elevate their Community Fund to $500 each. The entire value of this fund was donated Gardner’s House.

West Middle School attended a Success Leadership Conference March 21st-23rd, they will spend the coming weeks completing their presentation and Community Day. Their Community Fund will also be sponsored by Day Pitney Law Firm. This is the fourth year that Breakthrough Magnet and West Middle have participated in the Success Leadership Program. The Hulbert Outdoor Center hopes to engage more Hartford schools in this program in the future.

Special thanks to Katie Knowles for this great story.