Growing Leadership

Dalia Place
Southeast Raleigh Promise

Do you believe the old adage “They’re a natural born leader”?  As the oldest of six, you can imagine how many times this has been referenced in regards to my leadership skills.  Although I agree my birth order has had some effect on my leadership abilities, I don’t think leadership is inherited. I believe leadership skills are formed from fostering and interaction from a young age.

So, who is responsible for the fostering and cultivating? At Southeast Raleigh Promise we believe it’s a shared responsibility for all of us- families, schools and communities. As a first-generation college graduate, I can say with confidence, that if it were not for my community, I wouldn’t have made it. I’ve also concluded that, “making it” to me, is being able to lead in driving my individual as well as my community’s success, which includes supporting the development of the next generation of leaders.

“Children are the future”, another adage, but this time I completely agree. Youth leadership has been the focus in the news lately. Young people across the country and locally are leading the way on potentially the biggest grassroots gun-reform movement in history. Although on a large scale, this is just one example of how powerful youth voices can be. In Southeast Raleigh, our youth are making waves as well. Last month, Youth Empowered Advocating for Health, or YEAH, hosted a forum on gentrification and the effects on mental health in Southeast Raleigh. A huge challenge their community is facing today. Watching the youth in action that day was inspiring and a signal, that we as a community must continue to provide and strengthen opportunities for our youth to lead.

When youth have the opportunity to develop their leadership skills, they become architects of their futures, engaged citizens, and positive agents of change in their communities. Southeast Raleigh Promise is committed to supporting the empowerment of our youth, and building mutual support for intergenerational leadership. We know there is a rich legacy of leadership in Southeast Raleigh, and we also know how critical it is to invest in our future leaders. We believe that implementing strategies, and partnering with existing organizations, who are responsive to leadership development of youth and across generations, will create a synergy, having a high impact on the community’s long-term success.