Members Hear From Alumni
Three alumni Youth Leaders met with current members
yesterday, July 31st, to discuss how they brought the skills the program has
given them to their lives in college. The Valley United Way Youth Leadership
program was created in 1990 and alumni agree that the light of leadership
instilled in them this program doesn’t just go away, it keeps beaming throughout
their daily lives.
Ghassem-Zadeh, a Shelton High School graduate, senior at the University of
Connecticut and Youth Leader graduate, spoke about how he carried his leadership
skills over to his student life at UConn. He even told the group about how he
brought one-hundred UConn students to Camp Jewell because he had such a great
experience with it for Youth Leadership. He gave all the members his business
card so that they could contact him with any questions they might have about
college or Youth Leadership.
Alumni Colleen Holt, Derby High School graduate and junior at Uconn, and Parvati
Vaish, Shelton High School graduate and senior at Babson College, debriefed the
group about the previous meeting they coordinated about social media. They also
made themselves available to the members for any questions they can answer for
The Valley United Way Youth Leadership Code of Conduct forms were also
collected. These forms are extremely important as they remind the Youth Leaders
that they are always representing United Way though their membership in the
program and must truly act as a leader. They are the future, and through the
program are educated about their community as well as how to get involved in
their future community through their leadership skills.
A major part of the meeting was discussing how to assess youth initiatives for
the community. In September Youth Leaders will break off into groups and choose
what area of need they will focus on for allocations. United Way gives the Youth
Leadership program $2,000 to allocate on their own. After a focus is decided on,
the Youth Leaders seek out programs that correlate to what they would like to
achieve with their funds. Any agency that supports the need they are focusing on
is welcome to apply for their grant. Youth Leaders use the skills they have
learned in the program to interview Executive Directors of these programs to see
what is the best fit for their focus. Pitney Bowes and Iroquois Gas Transmission
System, L.P. fund the Youth Leaders trip to Camp Jewell where they work together
as a committee make the final decisions on what program they will fund.
At the Youth Leaders next meeting on August 28th, Michael Gnibus, Director-
Global Patent Operation of GE, Member of the Board of Directors at Valley United
Way, and Youth Leader Advisor, will provide some leadership training for the
Youth Leadership Program is made possible through the generous support of the
Raymond P. Lavietes Foundation which provides core funding.