PMC's Rudin Leadership Workshops in High Schools from Maine to New York

The Center for ilsr has hit the road—with an exciting new program expanding the Susan and Jack Rudin Leadership Conferences. To share the concepts of inclusive leadership and social responsibility more widely, the Center’s high school leadership programming, thanks to the continuing support from the Rudins, is now able to offer a series of free workshops to high school students throughout New England. The two-hour workshops, held on-site at high schools, provide an intensive leadership program for female sophomores, juniors, and seniors.

“The feedback (from the Leadership Workshop) resounded with enthusiasm. Our students commented: ‘I loved the group interactions,’ and ‘I thought it was helpful to talk about issues we could actually solve in our school.’ Many thanks for Pine Manor College’s support of this fine program.”
—Director of Student Activities in a Connecticut high school

Activities focus on helping participants create a positive change in their school in a way that includes all voices —especially those possibly neglected in the past. The workshops focus on one or two issues, chosen by the high school students from the following: working more effectively in teams; increasing self-confidence; becoming a more inclusive community; conflict resolution; speaking up for ourselves as young women; and better understanding diversity.

During each workshop, the students are taken through an “action planning” process to help create positive changes in their schools. Plans arising out of this year’s workshops have included the creation of a community service club; a letter-writing campaign to the State Board of Education regarding serious facilities problems; revitalization of a student council to better communicate students’ views to school administrators; development of a “peer mediation team” to address an increasing number of student-to-student conflicts; and creation of a “girls’ group” to meet weekly to deal with issues unique to young women in their school environment.

To date, the Center has received 24 requests for workshops and has facilitated workshops in 16 schools, with more scheduled. Designed for groups of 15 to 20, recent workshops have accommodated from 6 to 45 students. Center staff have traveled to schools from rural Maine to New York City. In most cases, a PMC student co-facilitates the workshops with the Center’s Director of Youth and Student Programs. Jasmine Haynes ’05, Jo Madaglia ’05, and Donnaree Wynter ’05 co-facilitated workshops this year.

The new program will enhance accessibility and opportunity:

  • High school students have increasing demands on their time—jobs, family obligations, sports, college preparatory work, community service. Bringing leadership programs to them benefits more students.
  • The cost of a full weekend-long or week-long program can be prohibitive for many students. The new workshop program will provide all participants with the opportunity to experience our leadership programs at no cost.
  • When students attended the Leadership Conferences on campus, only one student represented her school and developed a plan to take back to her community. Following the new workshops, however, many participants will be able to work together as a team to create positive change in their school.