For most students, summer is the time to step away from learning and concentrate on sun and fun. But for a Lincoln College Prep graduate and others around the area, summer proved to be the perfect time to brush up on leadership skills.
Derrick Parker of Kansas City was among only five students from the Kansas City area — out of more than 220 juniors and seniors nationwide — selected for the 2014 Bank of America Student Leaders program.
The others were Callie Van Winkle, Kori Hines, Sara Carroll and Carly Meacham, all from Johnson County.
Each received an eight-week paid internship with the Youth Volunteer Corps of Greater Kansas City. They also earned a week-long trip to Washington D.C. last month for the Bank of America Student Leadership Summit, where they participated in leadership activities.
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Parker recently graduated from Lincoln College Preparatory Academy, part of the Kansas City Public Schools. He was senior class president at Lincoln and is now heading to Morehouse College in Atlanta.
He feels fortunate to have spent his summer as an intern.
“I wanted to learn about nonprofits, and this internship taught me some valuable life lessons that can be used forever,” Parker said. “It wasn’t an ordinary internship.”
Van Winkle and Hines will be seniors this year at Olathe South High School.
“We got to meet with more than 200 student leaders from around the nation, meet with congressmen, hear from speakers and attend workshops,” Van Winkle said.
During her internship, Van Winkle helped lead service projects every week with about 10 other young people.
“One of the big things I learned was how to communicate better,” Van Winkle said. “Everyone communicates differently and I learned new ways to do this.”
During her internship, Hines worked with other young people on projects involving a community garden.
“Several times I was put in a leadership role,” Hines said. “I really had to step up.”
Carroll, a recent graduate of Olathe North High School, is an incoming freshman at Wichita State University, where she will study entrepreneurship and accounting, with plans to one day own her own bakery.
By working so closely with various nonprofit groups during her internship, Carroll determined that she would like to continue with community service.
“I definitely took away how to manage youth and how to be flexible,” Carroll said. “I worked with a different group of young people every week so I had to learn to be a leader, but also a friend and role model.”
Meacham just graduated from Blue Valley North High School and is beginning college at the University of Notre Dame.
During her internship, Meacham frequently led young people ages 11 to 18 who were also volunteering at Youth Volunteer Services. She had to focus on each volunteer’s strengths and find a role for the person that best fit those strengths.
“I plan to use these skills in the workplace and every single social situation I’m in,” Meacham said. “I understand that people are coming from different backgrounds and I’m able to apply their strengths where they are most effective.”