April 13, 2015
As volunteer co-chairs of CCC’s Community Leadership Course (CLC), we have the pleasure and privilege of welcoming each new participant into the program and coordinating with CCC’s staff to help ensure its success. The course, which was introduced in 1961, is CCC’s primary means of connecting with concerned New Yorkers who want to learn more about the range of issues affecting child well-being. Our program gives them the opportunity to become educators and child advocates as members of an engaged and effective volunteer community.
The Community Leadership Course is unique in both its breadth and depth. Over the space of its ten weekly sessions, it introduces participants to all major areas of child well-being – including income and food security, housing and family homelessness, education, health and juvenile justice – and surveys the work being done in each area in both the public and private sectors. Upon completion of the course, participants are prepared to join staff in advocacy initiatives, whether at City Hall or in Albany, and in educational programs for Community Boards and others.
What makes our involvement with the CLC so rewarding is to see how student perceptions evolve over the ten weeks. On the first day the group arrives with a huge variety of suppositions about New York City and by the end of the course they are truly knowledgeable about the hurdles that low income or children living in poverty might face. Even professionals who participate, given the array of subjects we cover, have the chance to expand their knowledge and learn from each other. Each morning is spent in small groups doing site visits within a policy issue and in the early afternoon we discuss the most up-to-date responses to this topic from city and state as well as CCC’s involvement in related projects.
As graduates of the CLC ourselves, we feel fully equipped to be effective advocates on behalf of New York City’s children and strongly believe that their well-being is our legacy as New Yorkers. CLC participants develop a sense of empowerment once they come to understand the strength that comes from collecting and analyzing the facts, educating others and pushing for policy solutions to issues they care about. This is where leadership comes in – speaking up and supporting solutions within your community or among your peers that will help make New York a better place to be a child. It’s a great feeling for us as volunteers to have such a big impact.
Linda Genereux, CLC Co-Chair Bonnie Greaves, CLC Co-Chair