Recently, the Appalachian Leadership Academy (ALA) graduated its 2014 class including two individuals that I coached through the program. We congratulate ALA graduates Lisa Fulk, Leigh Kelley, Tracy Mathews, Lisa Robinson, Diana Roush, Kandy Tanner, Clinton Throckmorton and Anna Shope.
Keynote speaker Cara Dingus Brook, President and CEO of the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio, shared that childhood poverty has increased by 70% over the past 10 years and that leaders across the state and community action agencies have their work cut out for them.
“Leaders must continue to help others move forward to address the disparities throughout the state and especially in the Appalachian region,” she said. “No child should lose hope. We have a great group of dedicated leaders working on the issues of poverty.”
Through the year-long program, participants develop skills in capacity building, networking, and succession planning, staff development as well as communication, visioning, financial management and budgeting. Each participant completes a capstone project supported by their organization. The projects require them to make use of the skills they acquired through ALA, while bringing a needed component back to employers.
The 2014 class speaker Lisa Fulk said, “ALA taught me to manage programs and lead people! We learned about conflict resolution and communications and how leadership is not about a title, but the ability to inspire others to get results.”
ALA is a collaboration between the Corporation for Ohio Appalachian Development, and the Institute for Local Government Administration and Rural Development at Ohio University’s Voinovich Center for Leadership and Public Affairs. ALA has been informed that it will be defunded even though the need for capable leaders in the Appalachian region of Ohio has not subsided. Therefore, ALA is seeking to diversify its funding and is seeking greater private sector support. .
Continuing this program is important to me personally as I am a 2007 ALA program graduate and a child of Appalachia. I was born and raised in Gallia County, located in southeastern Ohio, along the Ohio River in the heart of Appalachia. My roots and the branches of my family tree are still there. It will always be home to me.
Program supporters equip participants to make a real difference in their communities as engaged, conscientious citizens with leadership and diversity skills. Graduates take away a higher level of self-confidence, a new found respect for the region they represent, new knowledge and understanding about the challenges that the Appalachian region faces, and a renewed sense of pride in the organizations they serve.
If you’d like to learn more about ALA or are interested in providing financial support, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.