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Program provides students with hands-on experiences

Almost 60 high school juniors were given an inside look of many aspects of their community and given practical experience to make their own impact.

Through Youth Leadership Broward, the students participated in themed days focusing on government, business, culture, arts, criminal justice, the environment and more. They took field trips to places like the county jail and the Broward Center for the Performing Arts and met with representatives from various areas, including business, government and civic organizations.

The program's second component saw the class broken up into small groups that created a curriculum to teach leadership to elementary school students through a partnership with the YMCA.

"It exposes them to different places and issues throughout Broward County," said Laura McRell, program and marketing manager with the Leadership Broward Foundation. "It's really just eye-opening for them. For criminal justice day, we go to a county jail. Many of them have obviously never been to a jail. We work with the city of Coral Springs, who brought their K-9 unit out for the day."

Weston resident Samantha Rosenberg was recognized as Leader of the Year during the class' recent graduation at Nova Southeastern University in Davie. The American Heritage School student chaired her group in developing lessons for fourth- and fifth-graders at Plantation Elementary.

"I loved it and made a lot of friends, and I think my leadership skills improved a lot," she said. "You work with kids and teach them leadership. … I think it helped me improve because I had to work with every single person in my group, plan all the days and decide what our plan was going to be. … I also learned about things I didn't even know about Broward County."

Among her favorite trips were to the jail and to the Everglades for environmental protection day.

Isabel Coto, of Deerfield Beach and a student at Atlantic Technical High School, was awarded the Marsicano Scholarship of $500 for demonstrating outstanding leadership qualities.

Click here to view full article in Sun Sentinel.

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