Fanning Institute hosts summer leadership program for migrant youth

A summer leadership program at UGA prepares migrant youth to help themselves and their communities.

Twenty-five migrant youth from around Georgia attended the Leadership Without Limits summer program from June 5-15, hosted by the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development.

During the program, the high school-age students learned about leadership styles, communication, team building, and goal setting and decision making through workshops led by Fanning Institute faculty with assistance from UGA student mentors.

In addition, they participated in English Language Arts classes, learned about the college admissions process at both UGA and Athens Technical College, and discussed civic and community engagement, all while living on campus.

“It was a very rewarding week to watch these students grow from when they arrived on campus to when they left,” said Carolina Darbisi, a public service associate at the Fanning Institute who directs the Leadership Without Limits summer program. “Giving these youth an opportunity to enhance their personal leadership and communication skills and become more familiar with higher education will lay a foundation on which they can build their future.”

The program provided a unique experience, said participant Karen Barrera-Bello.

“It was a great chance to meet new people and also learn a lot about things I will need to know for my future,” said Barrera-Bello, who added that her favorite activity was rope climbing at the challenge course at UGA’s Ramsey Student Center. “Everybody who has a chance to do something like this should do it.”

While on campus, the youth also lent a helping hand to the Athens-Clarke County community by making blankets to donate to neonatal units at area hospitals.

“It felt good to give back to others,” said Barrera-Bello.

In its eighth year, the Leadership Without Limits program is funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Migrant Education program.

Having completed the summer leadership program, the youth will now return to their local communities to complete service projects.

The students will then present their service projects at the Leadership Without Limits graduation ceremony in September.