Leadership U started in 1995 and is designed for high school students (either living or going to school in Howard County) and who are entering their junior year in high school who want to test their leadership capabilities outside the classroom and learn about the satisfaction that comes through community service. Students apply in their sophomore year, with the program then kicking off late summer and running through early-December.
Focused on empowering students to learn by doing, the LU program runs over a four-month period and includes a combination of experiential learning and community service through completing a small team, self-identified project centered around real-world problems. From their project work, and through program session days, students develop relationships with peers and mentors, sharpen their presentation skills, meet key leaders and learn about Howard County’s businesses, government and services, and participate in a “service” day – all components which help students not only learn about the many facets of Howard County, but also discover new things about themselves.
Student Service Project Teams
This project team focused on advocacy and spreading awareness about the Asian American Pacific Islander demographic. They created a website, showcasing AAPI experiences and stories, and shared information and resources by hosting an educational seminar which was open to the general Howard County population.
Project: Misinfo & U
This project aimed to educate young people about avoiding the traps of misinformation and spreading it. The team hosted an information session about misinformation for middle schoolers and then surveyed participants to gauge how helpful the material shared was and how they may use it in the future.
Project: Mental Alliance for Youth (MAY)
This project team’s goal was to raise awareness about the mental health services available, as well as destigmatize talking about mental health. The team worked with middle and high school students to share resources through videos and interactive activities to help build a social media platform emphasizing the importance of accessing mental health resources.
Project: Inclusive Controversial Conversations (ICC)
Students working on this project hosted a live event open to community members for the purpose of sharing personal experiences about diversity and discrimination in Howard County, with the goal to dismantle stereotypes, get past surface level topic discussions to inform and raise participants’ awareness about racism.
Project: Helping Hand
This team collaborated with Burleigh Manor, Wilde Lake, Bonnie Branch, and Oakland Mills Middle Schools to host one-time information sessions to help middle schoolers prepare for high school through a “high school crash course”,
featuring speakers and interactive activities.
The objective of this project was to positively impact the homeless population in Howard County through collecting needed resources (i.e. toiletries, snacks, etc.) at various locations such as libraries, churches, 50+ Centers, as well as in-person drives for folks to drop off needed products.
Students made appreciation kits for Howard County General Hospital staff to recognize and show staff their appreciation for the great work that they do for our community, especially in light of a post-COVID environment which is still impacted by high levels of stress and patient volume.