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zMAD Leadership Experience Program Special Project Fund

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The Zedbridge Make A Difference(zMAD) Leadership Experience empowers high school students to develop confidence in themselves, and confidence in their abilities by working on an actionable community project.  It is a challenging hands-on program where students work with coaches, movers and shakers in the community, and nonprofits to solve community issues. 

The project is a four-week-long service learning project, where the students work with local nonprofits on projects that make a difference in their community.  They speak with nonprofits and people in the community to collect real data on their problem. They will be encouraged to get outside and learn to make connections (one of the most valuable skills someone can have)! 

In the process, participants will hone their abilities to work in teams and think creatively and independently to examine a problem and arrive at an effective solution with the resources that are available to them.  Not only will they implement their solution, they will learn to create awareness in the community using art and technology skills that will be taught by subject experts.  

The program creates a space for mentoring groups to build stronger relationships with their kids as they work as a team to design the most creative and effective solution.  The intensive competitive atmosphere also inspires students to find out what they are truly capable of achieving and embodies the zig ziglar quote “When you catch a glimpse of your potential, passion is formed”.

The project is based around Stanford’s Design Thinking Process.  Students will learn how to follow this process and learn how to problem solve in a very creative way. The students will also gain critical-thinking, problem-solving, leadership, decision-making, communication skills, professionalism/work ethic, and teamwork/collaboration.

At the end of the four weeks, each team will pitch their project, the nonprofit that they worked with and next steps for the project.  Each team will compete for the most innovative and impactful solution.  The winning team will win a cash prize, money toward the solution that they are proposing, continuing education scholarships, job training and job opportunities.

Too many children don’t have the opportunity to develop a true sense of self-efficacy - the idea that their hard work can make a difference in the real world.  For others, typical school activities may not be the best outlet for their creative impulses. Finally, kids often can’t connect their efforts to real, practical change for the better until they reach adulthood.  This project aims to address these problems, as well to help change negative views of our community. 

This project is part of a larger movement to having schools and students be more engaged with resolving community issues, as well as the use of this platform to spotlight some of the great efforts that are taking place in the community.  

Read more about this project in a recent Record Searchlight article

 

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