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University of Virginia  and City of Charlottesville Working in Partnership

Innovative Program Hones Grassroot Leadership Skills

July 19, 2002-- Ten city residents have completed an innovative leadership-training program developed by Charlottesville¹s Quality Community Council and the University of Virginia¹s Institute for Public History. The graduates will be honored at a dinner this Saturday night, July 20, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Monticello Event & Conference Center.

Elaine Jones, president and director of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the first African-American woman to graduate from the U.Va. School of Law, will be the keynote speaker at the dinner.

³We were thrilled to have been selected by the Institute for Public History as a partner in this very exciting project,² said Karen Waters, Quality Community Council director and the moving force behind the program. ³This initiative shows how the University and the community can work together for positive change. The participants formed a cohesive unit across neighborhoods and came away empowered.²

The six-week leadership development program is based on interviews conducted by U.Va. faculty member and civil rights leader Julian Bond for the Institute for Public History¹s ³Explorations in Black Leadership² series. The curriculum covers such topics as neighborhood history, strategic vision and organizational development, and includes interviews with Mary Futrell, a nationally recognized educator; Earl Graves, publisher of Black Enterprise magazine; and Elaine Jones.

³The interviews we've created as part of our Explorations in Black Leadership project must be shared in order to fulfill the project¹s goals,² said Phyllis Leffler, director of U.Va.¹s Institute for Public History. ³I'm very happy to share them locally with a group of extremely dedicated  people who want to make a difference at the grassroots level. This represents a wonderful coming together of gown and town for the enrichment of both. I'm very proud of what we've accomplished together.²

City residents interested in developing their leadership potential from the QCC¹s target neighborhoods ­ Ridge Street, Starr Hill, Venable, Fifeville, Prospect Avenue, Jackson-Via, Michie Drive and Riverside Avenue -- were invited to participate.

The participants are: Beatrice Bradford, Kathy Brown, Mary Carey, Karen Chambers, Margaret Crawford, Joy Johnson, Taunya McDonald, Joel McDonald, Audrey Oliver and Cheryl Williams.

The QCC is a community-based organization whose mission is to strengthen civic participation by residents of targeted, inner-city neighborhoods. Currently a city agency, the council is applying for 501 C (3) status as a tax-exempt, charitable organization, which it expects to receive by the end of the year.

The Institute for Public History at the University of Virginia, founded in 1996, promotes multi-disciplinary studies of historical and cultural significance, presents the results of these studies to the general public, and introduces students to career opportunities in research and interpretation. The institute¹s long-term goal is to develop a wide variety of interdisciplinary programs that have broad community appeal and foster understanding of the human experience.

³We are pleased to have had the opportunity to polish the skills of some of our grassroots leaders, while bringing in a new group of talented people,² Waters said. ³We are encouraging them to pursue other leadership opportunities and hope to see them out in the community, using their new skills, very soon.²

Contact: Charlotte Crystal, (434) 924-6858

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (434) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (434) 924-7550.

SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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Last Modified: Friday, 19-Jul-2002 15:22:05 EDT
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