Up and Coming Business People Learn Leadership by Giving Back

Their project to redesign a classroom at their local community center will encourage a love of learning.

When you walk into the new classroom at the East End United Community Center in Uniontown, Pa., south of Pittsburgh, it's kind of hard to decide what to try first. The comfy chairs and cozy rug next to the library space? The 3-D printer? Or maybe the computers and the four new tablets with headphones.

The room is stocked with books and technology for learning.

Kids who come to the community center will get a chance to experience all that, thanks to the Fayette Leaders Academy . The Academy is a 9-month program to immerse a select group of up-and-coming community and business leaders in networking, leadership training and opportunities to learn about the community through leaders from business, government, education, non-profits and the arts.

The program also includes planning and implementing a community service project with impact. This year the FLA cohort chose to renovate a classroom at the community center, and recently cut the ribbon, opening it for business.

"From the beginning of this project, we knew we wanted it to be centered around kids," said Kendall Sisler, an Academy member who talked to the Uniontown Herald Standard about the project.

The cohort members collaborated with sponsors to put down new carpeting, provide new furniture, lighting and technology including that 3-D printer and computers.The space will be home to a library, and STEM-related programming.

Students drew pictures of what kindness means to them, which have been made into a calendar.

"We felt very passionate about this community service project, the friendships we've made and the goals we've accomplished," academy member Tre Coles said at the ribbon cutting, as quoted in the Herald Standard. He also thanked community members and business who donated items to make the makeover a reality.

Kids and teachers expressed their gratitude.

"Thank you all so much for choosing us to do your project. It really means so much." Keeley Forrestel, Community Center Executive Director

Click here to find out more about how to join the Leaders Academy, or offer your skills as a mentor to young leaders. And click here to find out how to volunteer or donate to the East End United Community Center -- or get one of those cool Kindness Calendars!

(Images: Fayette Leaders Academy Facebook page )

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