Parkwood student participates in leadership program

Aug. 29, 2013 @ 04:58 PM

Samantha Alexander needed a boost to her self-confidence. 

Being one of the 24 teenagers selected to attend the N.C. Community Development Initiative’s 2013 Summer Youth Leadership Program.

"My mom said that I needed more self-confidence and the program really helped with that," she said.

Alexander, a 17-year-old senior at Parkwood High School, interned with the Monroe-Union County Community Development Corporation. She said she spent most of the summer helping people with applications for mortgages, helping to prevent foreclosures and helping people sell their houses. 

"If I could do it as a career, I would," Alexander said. However, she is more interested in teaching as a profession. 

The participants came from 17 counties, Alexander was the only one representing Union County. 

As a part of the program, participants went to Raleigh four times over the summer for seminars and workshops that focused on communication and leadership.

Alexander said she had to speak in front of people as part of the program, which greatly improved her self-confidence and, she said, will help her as a teacher. 

Going to Raleigh was one of her favorite parts of the program.

"Going to Raleigh and seeing all the teens that were in the program and how we all grew from each other and we just all learned together," Alexander said, when asked about her favorite part of the experience.

The group is planning to get together for a party next summer.

“This is a highly competitive program, and we’ve selected a group of young people who are ready to learn and make a difference in the world,” Kimberly Askew, the Initiative program associate who directs the youth program, said in a statement. “The program provides them with knowledge and experience that will help them be successful in their future careers and leadership opportunities.”

Alexander has applied to a few colleges and hopes to major in education. She looks back fondly on her summer with the leadership program.

"I had a great experience," she said. "It was something that not many kids know about and being able to have that experience was just amazing."