Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Tomorrow's Leaders...Making a Difference Today

Healthy Communities - Healthy Youth in Metro Schools
(This story was originally in the Alignment Nashville Newsletter)

The quiet girl who is too often overlooked. The angry boy who disrupts the class and is sent to out-of-school suspension. Both could be on a dangerous path to dropping out of high school - or they could become the next-generation leaders in Nashville.

The Developing Community Leaders (DCL) program, a collaborative initiative of the DCL Committee, is equipping students to step confidently into their future. DCL provides students with a college-level course in leadership and service-learning opportunities designed to put their leadership skills to use. The purpose of the program is two-fold: to cultivate student leaders, as well as to empower them to effect positive change in their own school. "Non-traditional" student leaders - including students who may be leading in negative ways -- are targeted in an effort to empower student leaders in every social group in the school. Many of these students have leadership potential that goes unrecognized in a typical high school culture; DCL recognizes that potential and gives the students what they need to succeed.

Community organizations such as Community Nashville, Nashville Cares, Oasis Center, Center for Asset Development, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Hands On Nashville, and others have aligned their resources through the Alignment Nashville DCL Committee to support the program. A total of 455 students at nine of the comprehensive high schools are enrolled in DCL this year. According to one DCL teacher, the program is making a significant difference; she said, "Our kids have been the ones who help drive the school.....the leadership students are the leaders of the building."

On May 11, 2009, McGavock High School will host a "Celebration of Leaders" to recognize the accomplishments and celebrate the future successes of their DCL students. For more information, please contact DCL teacher Jamie Lomax at

To learn more about Alignment Nashville programs, visit


Empowerment, Social Competencies and Support are just a few of the assets built by this great program in Metro Schools.