Cultivating Leadership  

(Dr. Clayton Lawrence, founder and CEO, shares his thoughts in a weekly column focused on community wellness and inspiring others.)

LEAP Foundation DC has been addressing the needs of disadvantaged and minority youth since our nonprofit organization was founded in 2009. The mission is simple: To provide educational and training opportunities to meet the aspirations of the underserved citizens of the District of Columbia. Our plan of action is simple: educate, collaborate, inspire and commit.

We make things happen for today’s youth – our future leaders – by providing educational support through scholarships and tutoring programs; we collaborate with other nonprofits that encourage physical activity and learning; we inspire when we lead by example; and we commit by remaining dedicated not only to success that happens today, but goals that are reached tomorrow.

But, as the saying goes, it truly does take a village. In order for us to be successful in our mission, we need your support. Here are a few ways you can join us in creating a bright future for today’s youth.

Ask questions that inspire leadership:

What are your thoughts on current affairs?

What would you do differently in this situation?

What are your strengths/weaknesses?

What are your current struggles and what can we do to overcome them together?

Do you have a five-year plan?

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Lead through example:

Invite the youth in your life to come along to professional events.

Take up an exercise routine together for better health.

Make education an important piece of the evening by sitting down together for homework.

Continue to seek knowledge in everything you do.

Discover everyday lessons through cooking or enjoying nature.

Volunteer.

Be encouraging by doing this, not that:

Do encourage study time; don’t insult because of a bad grade.

Do share feedback; don’t instruct.

Do be involved; don’t be overbearing.

Do create a safe, accepting environment; don’t ridicule looks or choices.

Do discuss; don’t do all the talking.

Do build up; don’t tear down.