Two decades after graduating, the first members of LEAD Historic Triangle have made an effort to ensure the program continues long into the future.
Alumni from the inaugural class gathered Feb. 21 at Williamsburg Landing to celebrate their 20th anniversary of graduation from the program. At the reunion, they announced the creation of a scholarship meant to support future classes.
The members of the class of 1994 — who have gone on to serve on City Council, the Planning Commission and many other boards — raised the money for the $3,000 award.
Sponsored by the Greater Williamsburg Chamber and Tourism Alliance, LHT’s mission is to enhance the quality of life in the Historic Triangle by developing, encouraging and supporting community leaders. The program is designed to increase participants’ area of involvement and expand their leadership skills by educating them on regional issues, as well as having them complete a community project.
For their project, the class of 2013 started Hands Together Historic Triangle, a multi-faceted program to help the homeless and precariously housed in Williamsburg. The effort was continued for a second successful year with an event that served hundreds last Monday.
In addition to the project, students attend a two-day retreat and eight all-day sessions from October to May to learn about topics including tourism and economics, local government, the environment and public relations. Participants devote a great deal of their time to these meetings, outside homework and social events.
Kerry Mellette, coordinator for the 20th class reunion, said she continues to work with members of her class for a wide range of service work in the community.
“My participation in the LEAD program has been one of the most meaningful and satisfying personal and professional experiences I have had since moving to Williamsburg over 25 years ago,” she said.
LHT is currently accepting applications for a class to start this fall. Selection is highly competitive and the group is limited to 27 participants who have demonstrated a strong interest in community service. A Chamber of Commerce-appointed committee looks for candidates who represent a cross-section of Williamsburg sectors: business, education, arts, religion, government, community-based organizations, and ethnic and minority groups that reflect the diversity of the community.
Interested applicants can also apply for the LEAD 20th anniversary scholarship at the time of their application for the upcoming class.
For more information about LHT and to apply, visit their website or call 229-6511.