December 5, 2007 Edition

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The Ralph Joseph Youth Leadership Class of 2007 graduated on November 18. Members of Class 13 include (front, from left): Carrie Massey, Walnut Ridge; Shanda Whitlow, Black Rock; Ronell Reed, Hillcrest; April Smith, Sloan-Hendrix; Samantha Knight, Walnut Ridge; Kayla Smith, Hillcrest; Amanda Midgett, Hoxie; (back) Amy McKenzie, Black Rock; Natalea Foster, Walnut Ridge; Latricia Mans, Sloan-Hendrix; Alexandra Willett, Black Rock; Chris VanBrook, Hoxie; Whitney Bennett, Hoxie; Amber Glenn, Hillcrest; Chasity Collins, Sloan-Hendrix; and Dr. Ralph Joseph.

MRalph Joseph Youth
Leadership Class 13 Graduates

Fifteen youth representing the four school districts in the county just completed the eight-session Ralph Joseph Leadership Program with a graduation on Nov. 18.

This program covers community assessment, communications, leadership ropes course, etiquette, personality assessment, decision-making, project reports and cultural diversity. Members also completed a community service project during the program.

Lila Floyd, co-chairman of the program, gave the welcome and explained the program is the result of Dr. Ralph Joseph identifying a need in the community, a need to train our youth to be good leaders and donate back to their communities. Dr. Joseph, along with others, donates funds each year and a committee of volunteers conducts the program. The group recognized Dr. and Mrs. Joseph with a standing ovation. Other guests recognized were Lee Ann Sharp of Wal-Mart, Clay Sloan, Chamber of Commerce, and Junior Briner, Leadership Lawrence County Alumni.

Floyd introduced Jacki Sloan Whisnant, a Leadership Lawrence County and ASU Regional Leaders graduate. Whisnant, a member of the RJ Youth Leadership Committee, said youth development is where her heart is. She challenged the graduates to do what they can to improve their communities when they can, no matter how small the gesture. She also reminded them to use the skills they learned in each session in everyday life to make it better. Small contributions make big differences.

Tim Taylor, committee member, recognized the Community Service Award winners for 2007, Chasity Collins, Latricia Mans and April Smith of Sloan-Hendrix School, for their 'Reading is Fun' project which continues with the community donating books for the local library and high school students reading to the elementary students once a quarter.

Other RJYLP projects this year a were campus cleanup, drug free education for elementary students, providing toys for local daycare, a senior citizen food drive and planting flowers at the senior citizens meal site and creating an emergency number list/stranger danger pamphlet for preschool and elementary students.

Martha May, staff chair with the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Extension Lawrence County, compiled a presentation of the class highlights, which were reviewed by Gail Clark.

John Thomison, committee member, named Latricia Mans from Sloan-Hendrix School as recipient of the $1,000 Lawrence Health Foundation Scholarship in honor of Dr. Joseph. She will receive the money upon graduation from high school to attend an Arkansas institute of higher education.

Lila Floyd assisted by Dr. Joseph presented the graduation certificates. Class 13 members include Carrie Massey, Walnut Ridge; Shanda Whitlow, Black Rock; Ronell Reed, Hillcrest; April Smith, Sloan-Hendrix; Samantha Knight, Walnut Ridge; Kayla Smith, Hillcrest; Amanda Midgett, Hoxie; (back) Amy McKenzie, Black Rock; Natalea Foster, Walnut Ridge; Latricia Mans, Sloan-Hendrix; Alexandra Willett, Black Rock; Chris VanBrook, Hoxie; Whitney Bennett, Hoxie; Amber Glenn, Hillcrest; and Chasity Collins, Sloan-Hendrix.

The youth leadership program is made possible through the support of Dr. Ralph Joseph, MD; Lawrence Health Foundation; Wal-Mart; Paul and Helen Doty; Larry Sloan; Robert Bosch Tool Corp.; Regions Bank; Kiwanis; First National Bank; Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce; University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Extension Lawrence County; Lawrence County School Districts; Lawrence County Department of Human Services; and Leadership Lawrence County Alumni Association.

Besides the monetary donations, many individuals donate time and expertise to teach the classes, prepare the notebooks and share meeting space. The RJYLP Class 13 thanks Linda Linebaugh, Carrie Mae Snapp, Jennifer Smith, Stephanie Smith, Cindy Shepard, Jean Osburn, Binkley Greenhouses and Powhatan City Council for their support.

To find out more about the Youth Leadership Program, contact the Extension Office at 886-3741 or any graduate or committee member.

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