The 2016 Emerging Community Leaders program drew to a close on October 13 with a festive graduation celebration! We are so proud of each graduate of the ECL Program. This year's ECL graduates volunteered over 925 hours in our community! They join a group of 450+ ECL graduates who have participated in the program over the past 11 years.
The ECL program's mission is to help young professionals CONNECT, SERVE, and LEAD in our community. Program participants spend eight months learning about our community, its challenges, and how the nonprofit sector addresses these challenges. A main focus of the program is equipping young professionals with the knowledge and skills to be an effective Board Member or high-level volunteer at a local nonprofit. Participants attended four seminars to gain in-depth knowledge of these concepts. ECL graduates can be found on Boards and committees across our community!
The 2016 ECL class put their new skills to work through Team Projects. A major component of the program, Team Projects allow small groups of participants to directly address a community need or challenge. They work collaboratively with existing organizations in the community to make an impact!
This year's projects included:
- Organizing a volunteering weekend for the Champaign Schools Summer Youth Employment Program
- Gathering together local Makers groups to create Fidget Blankets for senior citizens with dementia or Alzheimer's
- Working to secure the installation of a Born Learning Trail in a Savoy park
- Hosting a STEAM exploration event at the Douglass Branch Library
- Registering other young professionals as Mentors to reduce the mentoring wait list
The ECL program is a great opportunity for young professionals 21-40 to gain new skills, network with other community-minded young people, and make an IMPACT in Champaign County.
Applications for the 2017 ECL program will be available December 5, 2016.