Do you ever find yourself wondering what the future will look like, when the young people of today become tomorrow’s leaders? As I look back to my early years as a nonprofit leader, I am thankful for those who invested in me, to help me to become the community leader that I am today.

12970777_10154201942983629_2666044229833956624_oConcordia students, changing a child’s life at Village of Hope.

Young leaders are people that care, they have passion and they have energy. They want to contribute to a better future for the common good. But how are those qualities shaped and developed into effective leadership?
The tools and messages that grab their attention and communicate well with each generation are different. That is easy to see with the technology driven younger generations that desire substance and meaning, but listen in sound bites, as they sift through a multitude of messages and information.
But even when the tools and messages change, the shaping and development of young leaders always requires the context to serve, the opportunity to take on greater challenges, and the relational investment of those who have gone before them.
At Orange County Rescue Mission’s Village of Hope, we have an exceptional context for young leaders to be shaped and developed. In 2010, the Concordia Education Center was created for homeless children who live at Village of Hope to receive the extra help they need to succeed in school, in an enriching and nurturing environment.
12916967_10154201942688629_842740886423006819_oProfessor Patty O’Connor and Dr. Barbara Morton, retired staff from Concordia’s School of Education, pioneered Concordia Education Center, staffed by Concordia students. Over the last six years Professor O’Connor and Dr. Morton have invested in these college students, shaping their ambitions to make a difference as teachers. They model effective interactions and classroom management, train to assess student needs and create lesson plans and encourage the college students to take the lead for summer programming. The impact is an excellent education program for our kids, and a great development opportunity for college students.
And now Concordia University Irvine is taking a step further in developing young leaders. They are creating a new degree program for Nonprofit Leadership. That is why I am participating in a social media event with Concordia. I will be on campus Wednesday, April 13, encouraging other young leaders in the making to grow their passions and energy to become effective, world changing leaders. Follow me on Facebook on the 13th to see all that Concordia University is doing to invest in our future leaders.
And if you know of a university that would be a good partner with community nonprofits, message me. Dr. Morton is mobilizing to bring this model to other universities.