INDIANAPOLIS — A program aimed at empowering African American youth in our community is adjusting how they’re serving families during the pandemic.
For the first time in the Center for Leadership Development’s history, programming is now available for students virtually.
“I think it’s like her fourth program under CLD,” said Zandria Conyers, whose daughter Charlotte is a student. “The one she’s in right now, the Precious Miss, she’s actually repeating because she loved it so much the first time.”
There’s no denying Charlotte loves the Center for Leadership Development, having spent now four years in the program.
“It does give you a lot of ideas of different options you can be, different things you can do,” Charlotte said. “There’s no limit to anything we can do. They definitely teach us that.”
Founded in 1977, CLD is in the business of transforming young African American lives to become future leaders in the community.
They do this by teaching them character development, educational excellence, community service, and career achievement, serving about 4,000 kids a year.
“Saying you have so much potential and we believe in you, but you’re 17 years of age," Dennis Bland, president of Center for Leadership Development, said. "And at 17 years of living, has anyone spent 30 minutes with you actually teaching you a process and a system for how to do homework?”
Bland says education is currency, and some kids haven’t even been taught how to properly study or takes notes. Therefore, they might not have taken an interest in schooling.
So the Center for Leadership Development offers tutoring and counseling to fill this gap. Now, all of this is offered online because of COVID-19.
They’re also working to create satellite locations in some of their highest crime residential areas to meet kids where they are and make sure no one is left behind.
Their goal is to empower kids to believe they can be successful, inspire them to do so, then give them the tools and show them how.
“It is so profound, the breadth and the scope of the impact of the program. It’s probably more than certainly, I can even speak on,” Zandria said. “But I know when they have the gala and they have alumni come back and they do their fundraising efforts, it is just thousands of lives impacted in a positive way and so that is undeniable and it’s unmistakable.”