Want your child to learn how to handle real-world challenges for life beyond high school? The Leadership Academy prepared hundreds of local youth for success. Leadership Academy sells out every year and they anticipate the same this year. The course is normally $399 but the first 30 applicants selected for this program will be able to receive scholarships from The Youth Center. Thanks to the Rossmoor Community Service District, this year’s workshops will be held July 18-22 at a larger venue at Rush Park Auditorium. Youth ages 16 to 19 can apply online now at www.theyouthcenter.org.

This exclusive program has been refined each year to include the hottest topics recommended by teens who will soon be living on their own. “We want to keep things fresh and relevant for the participants to ensure they learn the basics about many aspects of living responsibly on their own,” said Shelly Clark, Director of Youth Programs. “Our curriculum includes workshops on basic financial skills, emotional, physical and spiritual well-being, conflict resolution, auto maintenance and insurance, goal setting and leadership skills, home skills, business basics, creating a resume, interview skills and more.” Each graduate will take away a certificate of completion, written goals, a letter of recommendation, resume, bank account (upon parental approval), a professional photo, a mentor and peer-to-peer friendships. The Youth Center will also work with local businesses to offer academy graduates internships to gain work experience and job skills for those that are interested.

“My experience in the Leadership Academy and mentor relationship helped me to adjust to the rigors of college life, new employment, to branch out socially and be more involved in my school,” said Leadership Academy graduate Elizabeth Duran. “Through the Academy, I met my mentor Karen Frankenberg, a Youth Center board member,” she said. Her mentor Karen helped Elizabeth in attaining her Girl Scout Gold Award and applying for colleges as a result of the relationship.

“This on-going relationship made a world of difference

for me, especially in coping with my first quarter away from home.” She had struggled with fitting in, missing her family and the demands of college classes, but through her mentoring relationship she found the extra support she needed to succeed. Duran attended UCSD studying to be an environmental/chemical engineer and hopes to work in the field of alternative energy.