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ACTIVITIES

During the inaugural year of the Taylor Wilson Thompson Family Foundation, Taylor and the board of advisors sought out new ways to give voice to young people seeking to take part discussions focused on the world around them. Through discussions with other foundations, student leaders, and schools around the country, the foundation developed the strategy of working directly with schools and social agencies that encouraged leadership development among middle and high school students. The foundation sought develop the leadership skills of young people by providing schools with small grants that would allow for leadership activities and training for young people. During the year a number of small awards were made to schools to initiate leadership activities and provide for leadership conference participation.

Based on her earlier findings from the previous year and on discussions with the field, Taylor and the board of advisors developed a far reaching plan to fund 12-15 schools that would link teachers, administrators and young people together to help build leadership skills in young people. This strategy asked teams from selected schools to create year long activities that would create a cadre of young leaders who were willing to share what they had learned with others young people within and outside of their school. Each site developed a “community of leaders” who shared their insights through, workshops, assemblies and training sessions.

 

Big Problems, Big Ideas, the foundations signature program was developed and implemented in the third year of the foundations operation. The program was the culmination of the previous two years experiences and offered the opportunity for young people and their schools to participate in a focused leadership development that asked students to utilize their research, analytical and communicating abilities, within a group setting, to problem solve . From an identified list of 30 schools, 9 were selected to take part in a competition that asked teams of of your people to choose a domestic or international problem and offer solutions to that problem. Each school was a worthy participant and in most, the activities extended beyond the school to the school communities. Three schools were winners of the competition and received leadership award grants. More than 300 students took part directly in the activities and more than 4,000 students were impacted by the Big Problems, Big Ideas program.