By Nicole Davis
Are you doing the right thing, at the right time, in the right way, and for the right reason? If so, you are leader with character.
The Indianapolis Youth Leadership Academy aims to teach students ages 15-18 the fundamentals of leadership which can help them in their future career path. The five-day academy is scheduled for June 14 through 18 at 1551 S. Franklin Road, Indianapolis – Franklin Township – available free of cost to youth in the Indianapolis area and surrounding counties. Lunch will be provided, donated by local restaurants. Registration is now open.
“I want these kids to understand that their beliefs of family, trust, honesty, character will guide their behaviors, their performance and the ultimate outcome of their lives,” said Donald Bender, who is retired from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.
When the Marion County Sheriff’s Department and Indianapolis Police Department merged to form the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department in 2006, several leaders of the department decided there needed to be some new directions and leadership. They formed the IMPD Leadership Academy in 2010. The four-month academy gives an intense insight into leadership, no matter what type of organization the participants works for, Bender said.
“I had the great fortune of being in the very first class,” Bender said. “After my graduation, I got to looking around. I began considering what some of the young people needed. I felt that our young people could benefit by learning the same principals that our adults learned.”
He spoke with Bill Westfall, the primary instructor at the IMPD academy, and they came up with the Youth Leadership Academy. They did practice sessions in 2018 and 2019, putting young students through the curriculum.
“We were amazed at how quickly they picked it up and what they were retaining,” Bender said.
They were prepared to launch the academy in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic halted that. Keeping social distancing in mind and other safety precautions, Bender said he feels they’re prepared to host the academy this June with a limit of 35 students. While the class is offered at no cost to the student, it costs approximately $75 per participant to cover materials. Bender said they would love to grow, offering more classes throughout the year, and could use donations to make that possible.
For more information, or to apply, visit indyyouthleadership.com or call (317) 506- 1510.