Gaston Together recently announced the graduation celebration for its civic engagement leadership initiative.
This was the third such class of its kind, according to executive director Donna Lockett. Due to State-imposed virus-related restrictions, the class was forced to wait a year for its graduation. Lockett added that the event for the civic engagement leadership (or CEL) program was held at the Gaston Country Club.
“Gaston Together created the CEL process in response to a twofold community request,” she said. “One: to create a potential future pool of leaders for Gaston County; and two: to attract and retain the young adults in Gaston County through leadership opportunities. Gaston Together conducted an extensive research-and-discovery phase to examine other leadership programs in the county to identify any possible gaps and avoid duplication of efforts. The CEL process was built around three areas for enhancement identified during this research phase: intentional cross-sector community building, greater knowledge of Gaston County’s past, present and future and in-depth personal awareness and skills development.”
The program featured eight sessions of six full-day and two half-day classes, limited to a group of 20-25 participants to allow for active engagement. Sessions were conducted as an experiential learning laboratory. Some highlights of the process included work on communication skills and civic dialogue, influencing as a leader and community-building by working across differences in demographics and community sectors and self-assessment testing for growth/change comparison.
Funding for the third class of CEL was graciously provided by the Carrie E. and Lena B. Glenn Foundation, the First Gaston Foundation, Dominion Energy and Gaston County. Fellowship sponsors were Charlie and Helene Pearson, T.J. Solomon and Parkdale Mills.
Gaston Together is currently taking applications for the fourth CEL program, which will begin with an orientation in August. Sessions will begin in September.
For more information or to get an application, contact Lockett through Gaston Together by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 704-867-9869, ext. 111.