Extended Leadership Academy (ELA) began in 2018 as a “next step toward success” program specifically developed for older students who had completed Extended Family for Kids (EFK).  In 2022, we expanded ELA to include children identified by school counselors as “at-risk,” as well as those coping with family incarceration.  ELA is as diverse as the interests of the students who participate in it.  This 18-week course begins with a survey of the students to help them identify the qualities of their dream job and explore what occupations appeal to them and why.  That information is then used to tailor the curriculum to those students to include information and presenters who match their interests, along with lessons in personal leadership.

ELA covers three main topics during each series:  job readiness, including practicing interview skills; health, including maintaining good physical and mental health and identifying healthy relationships; and, communication, including the art of making friends, the power of a thank you note, when and how to use phone/text/social media appropriately, and more.  Additionally, students are introduced to community leaders who can guide them into a successful transition into adulthood, which begins with choosing the right career.  At the end of the ELA course, Extended Family staff takes senior students on a shopping trip in the spring and purchases business attire to help them be ready for their interviews.

It has long been a dream of Extended Family to expand the services we offer to our ELA students to include a scholarship.  This year, we are pleased to announce our first scholarship is being awarded to Miss Terri Barnwell, who is a member of the 2023 graduating class of Spring Garden High School.  After graduation, Terri plans to attend the Georgia Institute of Cosmetology and hopes to one day open her own beauty salon.  School counselor Jenna King describes Terri as “a conscientious, hardworking young woman who not only accomplishes the task at hand, but goes above and beyond what is asked of her.”  We are proud to support such a well-deserving candidate as our first scholarship recipient!  We have enjoyed having Terri as part of our Extended Family programs and wish her much success in the future.

We at Extended Family are excited to continue providing resources, including scholarships, to support Our Kids as they plan for their futures and follow their dreams, offering help and inspiring hope, one child at a time.

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