By Adam Brazeau
CORNWALL, Ontario – A collection of young female minds will be brainstorming on how to enrich the community for today's teens and generations to come at the Young Women are Leaders (YWL) retreat this weekend.
Pictured (left):Young Women are Leaders (YWL) team co-leader Kimberly Hickey and YWL team co-leader Diane Soucie.
Two teen sisters, Emma and Julia Mogus, who have spearheaded an organization that sends books to Aboriginal children and teens in Northern Ontario, will be addressing YWL members to showcase powerful girls in action.
The Eastern Ontario Training Board (EOTB) project is building leadership skills and promoting civic engagement to 29 young women, ages 14-16, from throughout Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry.
"We're having a brainstorm session and developing their action plan for the next year and a half, on how to develop leadership skills and engage in the community," said YWL team co-leader Kimberly Hickey.
Earlier this year, the EOTB received $170,400 from the federal government, for YWL, which is a 24-month project that aims to leave a lasting impression on local youth.
"We hope there is a legacy left after this," said Hickey.
After a well-received application process, Hickey and YWL team co-leader Diane Soucey are ready to start putting their young women to the task of making tomorrow better today.
"The main thing we were looking for was someone who wanted to make a difference that has a drive to grow and learn" said Hickey.
YWL's current roster has already really impressed her.
"During the application process we noticed how thoughtful they were in planning for the interview," said Hickey. "They have a keen desire to change our community."
So far, YWL members have taken a tour of the Agape Centre, spoken to the Chamber of Commerce and have met with various city councillors. Other community aspects they will engage in are sitting on a board of directors for a charitable organization, meeting with community leaders and participating in the 2014 municipal elections.
"This gives them the opportunity to see behind the scenes of all these community services and be able to network with male and female leaders," said Hickey.
Hickey said YWL members are focused on public awareness against bullying and youth activity.
As the project goes forward, Hickey is confident that all 29 youths will have a great opportunity to find their niche for future employment and education opportunities.
“This opportunity will help develop their passion and open their eyes to the possibilities available in our community," said Hickey.