Junior Leadership Merced, a program of the Greater Merced Chamber of Commerce, graduated its largest class yet on March 21 at the Merced Senior Center.
Class 8 began in September 2011, with students filling out detailed applications and participating in an interview process before being accepted into the program. There were more than 50 applications received. The 24 students accepted were from Atwater, Buhach Colony, Golden Valley, Livingston and Merced High Schools.
Their first session, “Thrive & Survive,” presented by Jonae Pistoresi, earned one college credit. Other sessions included Business Day; College Day; Government & Media Day; and Law & Justice Day. In addition, they also participated in a two-day leadership and team-building retreat, held at the Jack L. Boyd Outdoor School.
The goal of the seven-month program was meant to provide leadership training and to make participants aware of the possibility of returning to Merced County as adults and becoming viable members of their communities, according to a news release from Junior Leadership Merced.
JLM is sponsored by donations from chamber businesses, which this year included Farmers Insurance Group/Federal Credit Union, Active 20/30 Club of Merced, Central Valley Community Bank, F & M Bank, MUHSD Education Foundation and the Rotary Club of Merced. There are also individuals who hosted meals during the sessions.
For more information on the JLM Program and how to obtain an application for Class 9, contact Emily Foster at (209) 985-3550.