HHF Ambassador program offers training in service, leadership

Thursday, January 19, 2012
Board member Leland Blackshare speaks with Helping Hands Ambassadors on the importance of community service

The Rector High School Helping Hands Foundation's new Ambassador program is providing training in leadership skills and opportunities for community service for 35 local students.

Launched just a few weeks ago, the program is designed to identify, educate and motivate potential leaders, according the HHF executive director Gail Burns.

"Participants will be challenged by speakers and people from many sectors to make a personal commitment to become part of a rich leadership pool," Burns said. "The program will educate and develop training for community service while at the same time building self esteem."

Retired history teacher and HHF board member Leland Blackshare spoke last week to the group about business and social etiquette. Other workshops throughout the school year will be on team building, sense of community, sense of giving back and how to become a vital part of the community.

The program uniquely pairs students who already possess some leadership skills with those who are in need of such training.

"Students who feel better about themselves are better citizens and learn to a higher level," Burns said. "In many cases students who are given financial help learn to expect it and do not see there is a real value in giving back to others in community service. It is our hope that the Ambassador program will teach our recipients to be willing to give back and to learn how to become a vital part of the community."

School leaders have been asked to assist with the HHF programs and take a leadership role in projects.

Each of the new ambassadors received a shirt with the HHF logo, purchased through the "Change for Success" can drive, which will continue through the spring. "Change for Success" cans have been provided to classrooms and to businesses and invididuals around town to collect change for various needs. Coats for needy students were purchased before Christmas, and Burns said funds from the cans will be used in the spring to help with needed attire for special events such as prom and graduation.

"If you see a Change for Success can, please drop in your extra change to make a difference the lives of needy students," Burns said.

The ambassadors will be responsible for helping with fund-raising events and being present at community functions. Seniors Kelsey Wynn and Richard Wright were chosen to represent the group at a Jan. 30 luncheon with Arkansas State University Interim Chancellor Dr. Dan Howard at Genny's Kitchen in Rector.

On campus sponsor of the ambassadors is Jill Scott, a teachers assistant at Rector High School.

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