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Birmingham-Southern College program introduces students to leadership, service

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.-Forty high school students from around the nation have been selected to spend a week of their summer breaks on the campus of Birmingham-Southern College learning how to become leaders and servants in their communities.

Student Leaders in Service, now in its ninth year, is a residential program for rising high school juniors and seniors that combines academic coursework on leadership theory with participation in community service projects.

This year, BSC is offering a program specifically for young women. The first Student Leaders in Service week will be held June 16-21 for high school females with the theme "Choices: Leadership from a Female Perspective." Activities, panels, and movies will focus on high school females' leadership styles and the positive choices they have academically, professionally, physically, and spiritually. The service projects will include the YWCA and First Light Women's Shelter. A panel will address women's civic responsibility with speakers such as local TV personality Fran Curry and former Child Times editor and founder Kay Kornmeier.

The second Student Leaders in Service week, June 23-28, will be a coed program exploring leadership models and community involvement. Participants will explore the challenges of working with groups and meet with influential community leaders. Service projects will include St. Andrews Community Kitchen, Urban Ministry, and Outreach Inc.

Both weeks will include tours of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and the Southern Environmental Center. Each program will conclude with a mock City Council to determine how to fund the various agencies the students assisted during the week based on budget proposals submitted by students representing those agencies.

"The programs offer wonderful opportunities for students to explore concepts of leadership outside of their high school environments and begin to understand why problems exist in the community and what they can do about them," said Jeanne Jackson, BSC's director of leadership studies and one of the program's coordinators.

Students from 14 states, including Alabama, California, Colorado, Indiana, Nebraska, and Washington, D.C., will begin their week with a ropes course promoting trust among the group, and work throughout the week with BSC faculty and staff members on understanding their own leadership styles.

Student Leaders in Service is sponsored by the college's Hess Center for Leadership and Service.

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