INDIANAPOLIS — The Center for Leadership Development, which offers educational and character development programming to Black youth in Indianapolis, is expanding.
Three satellite locations are opening at Christamore House, Mt. Carmel Church, and the PATH School.
"We have decided to form strategic partnerships in some of our highest crime, lowest income areas to let people young people know number one we love you, number two we have all kind of confidence in you, and number three success requires cultivation and development to build a skill," CLD President Dennis Bland said.
On Thursday, the Christamore House in Haughville celebrated the start of the new partnership. Thirty male students ranging in age from 12 to 17 will take part in a six-week program focused on character and leadership training, personal branding and positive self-representation guidelines, and connectivity to outstanding male role-models and mentors.
"The reason it is important is because this is an area that has low income we have low education levels and it's for a variety of different reasons but we have access to resources that they've never quite had access to," La'Toya Pitts, Executive Director at Christamore House said.
Pitts is CLD Alumni who was born and raised in Haughville. She said she understands the impact the programs can make on the lives of kids in our community.
"Goal setting. That is probably the biggest thing CLD hammers in on," she said. "Setting a goal and sticking to it, what it looks like to follow through on what you want to do."
A 2020 survey of CLD program graduates found 90% understand how behaving responsibly will help them with their educational goals and future careers, ultimately becoming trustworthy young men.
"As good members of the community we just want to come and be good neighbors and say is there anything we can do to join in and partner with some of our colleagues in these communities," Bland said. "What can we do together to help give young people hope and actually show them they too can become successful and actually show them how to do it."
The Center for Leadership Development received an $11.6 million grant from Lilly Endowment in 2019 to support this expansion effort and day to day operations.
The next six week program in Haughville will start this summer. Programming at the other two locations will begin in the coming months.