Teaching Students to be Community Leaders

Thanks for joining us again for a Coaching in the Classroom / CIC update! November 8 was election day 2011. As it's an "off" year, meaning the president isn't elected, so, sadly, fewer people made the trek to the polls to cast their ballots to elect their leadership. In fact, in our county, some elections were won by one vote! Your voice counts!

When you have the opportunity, please vote in whatever elections are taking place in your communities. This privilege is important in any town, but for rural areas, here's why we feel citizen engagement and knowledge is critical.

We took about 30 students to city hall in Coon Rapids, where we teach every week, to meet with Mayor Keith Dorpinghaus and City Clerk, Jesica Leighty. The students asked some really good questions, had a tour of the building, saw future development plans for the city, and learned about the importance of elections.

The reason this is really, really important for you to model is that we had the students raise their hands and about 20 of them (that's two-thirds of our high-schoolers with whom we work) plan to remain in the area post-graduation. This is a huge opportunity for community leaders and educators to connect with these students and bring them into the life of the community ahead of graduation so they feel WUCA! Welcome, Understood, Comfortable, and Appreciated for their talents, skills, ideas, energy, and enthusiasm!

We are teaching them to run these communities, because in not too long a period of time, these children are going to be sitting on city councils and school boards (in fact, we are working on getting a student seat soon on these two), on church committees, and will be running for mayor. They need to know how the city operates and part of what we do in CIC is to provide them with some learning they can use in the future in these capacities. So please, head out and vote! Take your student with you! If they are 18, get them registered ahead of time and tell them your feelings about candidates, the political climate, your values, and why you take the time to vote. Your student will likely listen and model you.

Please feel free to get in touch with us - education is a team sport! Be involved with your students to help them become healthy, productive, engaged leaders!