Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site Seeks Talented Teens for Summer Leadership Institute

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    Youth Summer Leadership Institute participants posing with Congressman Bobby Scott at the U.S. Capitol in 2011.

    Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site invites area high school students ages fourteen to eighteen to apply for a spot in its free, selective Summer Youth Leadership Institute. Now in its eighth year, the 2017 institute will take place weekdays July 3 through 13 (excluding the Fourth of July) from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., with a special ceremony held on Saturday, July 15, to recognize all participants.

    Sponsored by the National Park Service and hosted at the Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site, the Leadership Institute provides a two-week experiential program for teens interested in developing leadership skills, meeting with community leaders, and charting a course for future success.  Developed in conjunction with educators from the Maggie L. Walker Governors School, the program curriculum is designed to engage them in discussions about what it means to be a leader and an involved citizen.  Classroom discussions are supplemented with opportunities to meet local, state, and national leaders, attend community meetings, and visit historical sites and museums, such as the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

    Site supervisor Ajena Rogers noted that nearly 100 students have participated in the institute since its inception.  Several of those students have come back to help mentor their successors.  “We are thrilled to once again hold the Summer Youth Leadership Institute and work with amazing young people,” said Rogers.  “It is our hope that they will come away inspired by the work of Mrs. Walker and looking toward a future in which they carry on her legacy.”

    High school students who would like to apply for a spot in the program can download an application at www.nps.gov/mawa.  Forms are also available at Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site.  Applications for this year’s institute need to be submitted by Monday, April 24.

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    The Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site is dedicated to preserving the life and legacy of America’s first African American woman to charter a bank and serve as its president. Born during the last year of the American Civil War, Maggie Walker lived in Richmond her entire life – more than 70 years – and as a fully engaged citizen she courageously challenged racial discrimination and gender bias through her work with the Independent Order of St. Luke, and other local and national organizations. Her earliest leadership role in the Order was as Matron of the Juvenile Department, helping young people learn self-discipline, self-help, and selflessness, and grooming young leaders who knew the importance of helping others and their communities.

    The Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site has been a unit of the National Park Service since 1978. Guided tours of her restored home, located in historic Jackson Ward, are given by National Park Rangers. The park visitor center is open Tuesday through Saturday, 9:00 am to 5:00 p.m.