Class empowers residents to take charge


March 17, 2002|By Christina Bittner | Christina Bittner,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

LEADERS ARE the ones who initiate programs and guide others along a path. A leader could be the chief executive officer of a major corporation, or the parent who gives up free time to coach a Little League team.

Leadership Anne Arundel believes that leaders are made, not born, and they are looking for those "leaders in waiting" to step forward and get ready to take on the world.

The organization's Neighborhood Leadership Academy is accepting applications from residents in the Brooklyn Park area to enroll in a nine-month program that prepares people to become leaders in their communities.

Christol Medley, a Program Coordinator with Leadership Anne Arundel, said the group is particularly interested in applicants from this area. "Brooklyn Park is a high-growth area," she said. "There is a lot of economic development going on there."

Participants learn to mobilize residents to act as advocates when dealing with county and state agencies that handle community issues.

To succeed, participants have to commit to the program. They meet every other Saturday for nine months, and attendance is required. "They must attend all of them," Medley said. "There are also three retreats, one of which is an overnight retreat."

Topics include understanding diversity in the community, financial management, time management, building partnerships, the community's role in economic development and group dynamics.

Leadership Anne Arundel's executive director, Griff Hall, said 49 participants have graduated from the Neighborhood Leadership Academy.

"Cynthia Abney Carter is one of our graduates," Hall said. "She is the first African-American woman to serve as an alderman in Annapolis. And there's Ron Smith of Glen Burnie. He started a countywide program called Mentoring for Life."

Medley said that for her, the program has been a life-changing experience.

"It made it clear that this is where I want to be," she said. "I became very active in the community and received an honors certificate from Sojourner-Douglass College. It's definitely a benefit."

In addition to the Neighborhood Leadership Program, Leadership Anne Arundel has a Flagship Program, which explores how the county works, and an Executive Leadership Program, which introduces senior-level executives to county services.

"The future of any community is dependent on the quality of the decisions that its leaders make," Hall said.

To enroll in the Neighborhood Leadership Program, applicants must live or work in Anne Arundel County and be at least 25 years old. The program has a $50 registration fee.

Information: 410-571-9798 or

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.