Leadership & Connection
Check out our blog post about this program here.
We believe it's important to collaborate with other nonprofit organizations as we are all working towards the same cause. Finding like-minded organizations, we partnered with Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) and Granite State Independent Living (GSIL) to create a powerful leadership program that connects students living with disabilities to college students.
"I never thought I could go to college because I have a disability, but now I am going to try." - GSIL student
The premise of this collaboration started with a need. Our High School programs are focused on leadership but what does this mean to high school students? That's when Executive Director, Dena Stahlheber, met with Andrea Bard, a Communications professor and Communications department head at SNHU. Together, they hatched a plan to work with Andrea's college students to create activities around leadership that provide a hands-on experience of what it's like. But how would they know if the activities were effective?
GSIL is a nonprofit that helps individuals living with disabilities have a variety of resources across the state. One of their programs is an earn-and-learn program that allows students struggling with an IEP or disability to have an alternative program that focuses on their needs to graduate.
"Communication can be defined as the imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinions, or information by speech, writing, or signs." - Dictionary.com
As the definition clearly outlines, as we partake in communication something is imparted or interchanged. We believe this is what happened by bringing together students who are adept at communication with students who may not think they are or perhaps have a challenge in this area. In this community, we can see those with strengths in one area helping others who perhaps have a deficit but abundance in other areas. We believe this is community at its best.
These SNHU students met with the GSIL high school students about three times for at least two hours each time. During the debrief, all of the university students said there was not enough time spent with these high school students. Many of the SNHU students saw themselves in the GSIL students they met and were deeply impacted and inspired by the high school students who didn't have many opportunities for leadership but were now seeing how they are as a leader.
We are looking to partner with local high schools and neighboring universities or colleges to continue this program where college students group mentor local high school students who live with a disability, IEP, or 504. The more we connect and learn about each other, the better we are as individuals.
For more information, please reach out to Dena by clicking here.