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Taking a Dive into Diversity: American Conference on Diversity Kicks Off Lead for Diversity in July

Signature Youth Education Program Will Cultivate the Next Generation of Diversity Leaders

Throughout New JerseyWhile most teens will be jumping into swimming pools this summer, sophomores, juniors, and seniors from dozens of public, private, and charter high schools throughout New Jersey will dive into diversity learning in July  as delegates of the American Conference on Diversity’s 19th Annual Lead for Diversity (LFD).

The yearlong program kickoff will be held at the Pocono Environmental Education Center in Dingmans Ferry, PA, where college students and professionals who volunteer will help mentor the delegates along their journey of discovering the real value of diversity. LFD will include a series of workshops and group activities on socioeconomics, religion, ability status, sexual orientation, race, gender, and other diversity-focused topics. Designed to build social-awareness, leadership, conflict-resolution, and cross-cultural communication skills, the experiential learning activities equip delegates to recognize and advocate for more inclusive communities. This year’s delegation represents more than 20 different schools in 9 counties and 12 school districts in NJ. During the week, delegates will work with their peers, school advisors, and ACOD volunteers to create action plans that will be implemented during the 2013-2014 school year to address challenges unique to their communities. The action plans will engage their high school peers, teachers, and administrators in outcome-driven programs that build more inclusive schools and help reduce bullying, name calling, derogatory language, and bias incidents on their campuses.

“WOW, what an amazing program! I was energized by the level of engagement, honesty, candor, and commitment shown by all participants. The content of the program was highly relevant to the rapidly changing diversity of the U.S. marketplace,” said LFD program visitor Angela Guy, SVP of Diversity & Inclusion at L’Oreal USA and a member of the American Conference on Diversity Board of Trustees. “The schools that support this program are really setting the standard by sending student leaders to the program to be the voice of change. These leaders will return to their schools with highly relevant tools that can jumpstart an inclusive environment; one that celebrates the potential that each student has to offer their schools, families, and communities, today and in the future.”

Participating institutions for Lead for Diversity 2013 are: Absegami High School; Bayonne High School; Bergen County Academies; Big Brothers Big Sisters of Essex, Hudson & Union Counties; Cedar Creek High School; Franklin High School; Freehold Township High School; Gill St. Bernard’s School; Haddonfield Memorial High School; Howell High School; Kearny High School; Lakewood High School; Marlboro High School; Piscataway High School; Princeton Day School; St. Benedict’s Preparatory School; Saint Vincent Academy; Secaucus High School; Spotswood High School; University Academy Charter High School; and William L. Dickinson High School.

What past delegates have said about LFD:

“I have the power to change the world. I have a duty because of it. What is the world if those who can, don’t?” –Ryan McCluskey 

“The most important part of LFD for me was learning new things and being able to confront issues in my community.” –Dhvanika Patel

“The most important part of LFD was becoming aware of my own prejudices and assumptions, which I didn’t believe existed. Learning how easy it is to become strongly connected to unfamiliar people taught me that as humans we can learn to love each other in ways unimaginable.” — Salma Hbaich

Formerly known as Anytown, NJ, LFD has been a cornerstone of the American Conference on Diversity Youth Leadership Institute since 1995. Since that time, over 100 of New Jersey’s high schools have participated and several thousand students have been delegates. In a recent survey of past program participants, nearly 80 percent of former delegates said that attending the program impacted their career choice, leading them to education, social work, nonprofit work, healthcare, government, and law. For more on the impact of Lead for Diversity, download last year’s Lead for Diversity Survey Report and Advisors’ Evaluation Report.

To learn more about how your high school can participate in Lead for Diversity 2014, call 732-745-9330, x22.

Thanks to the generosity of the following Lead for Diversity Partners in Education and other donors, more than 50 percent of the costs for schools to participate will be paid for: Fidelity Investments, Investors Foundation, New Jersey Natural Gas, NJM Insurance Group, The Provident Bank Foundation, Shor Family Foundation Inc, Victoria Foundation, and Wilf Family Foundation.

To find out how your organization can be a Partner in Education, please contact Linda@AmericanConferenceonDiversity.org.

About the American Conference on Diversity

The programs, services, and initiatives of the American Conference on Diversity are among the most important work focused on creating a more inclusive society. It is the unfinished business of living in a highly diverse nation: educating and empowering our next generation of leaders; enhancing our workplaces; and helping to create inclusive communities. The American Conference on Diversity, which has been serving schools, organizations, workplaces, and communities in New Jersey since 1948, builds on a historic mission and creates programs and activities relevant and vital to 21st Century life. It is a journey we can all take together. The American Conference on Diversity operates eight chapters to help us to educate and empower leaders and bring our messages of inclusion and respect to communities throughout New Jersey: Atlantic County Chapter, Bayonne Chapter, Central Jersey Chapter, Essex County Chapter, Greater Bergen Chapter, Hudson County Chapter, Jersey Shore Chapter, and Mercer County Chapter. Visit www.AmericanConferenceonDiversity.org to learn more.

 

Contact

Gail Zoppo

Media Relations Consultant

109 Church Street

New Brunswick, NJ 08901

gail@AmericanConferenceonDiversity.org

732-745-9330

 

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