Alumni Impact Award Winner Continues to Make a Difference

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Alumni Impact Award Winner Continues to Make a Difference

In 2011, Teresa Nwachukwu (Nigeria, Tulane University, 2010-2011) received an Alumni Impact Award to develop and implement a youth leadership program in Abuja, Nigeria. Her goal was to provide orphaned and disadvantaged youth with the resources necessary for them to “grow into well-adjusted adults, ready to take on the challenges of a highly interdependent world.” While Teresa saw that orphans in Abuja were provided with food and shelter, she noticed that they “had a very poor self-image, low self-esteem, [and] a feeling of worthlessness from being abandoned.”  As a result, she set out to recruit 60 teachers and 30 mentors to provide leadership training to 100 children in Nigeria’s capital city. Using the skills and training she received during her Humphrey year, Teresa created the Steps to the Top Leadership Center, which recently held its second annual summer leadership camp for Abuja youth.

Teresa’s camp has truly made an impact in her community. In 2012 for the camp’s inaugural year, the theme was Finding your Leadership Swag! Ninety students participated in the camp, which emphasized decision making, working in teams, creating a personal vision, dealing with change, and communication skills. There were large group sessions, smaller group debriefings, and team activities, including a treasure hunt. The students gained “a clear understanding of who they are, what values they hold, their purpose in life, how to set goals and work towards achieving those goals.”  Teresa utilized the Early Leadership Toolkit designed by the Center for Creative Leadership to teach these lessons in a fun and exciting way. 

Although outside funding was not available for the camp in 2013, “the community took the initiative to sustain what the Humphrey Program Alumni Impact Award started.” The theme of this year's camp was Imagine the Possibilities, and the students were “encouraged to imagine the Nigeria of their dreams and how they could make that happen as leaders.” The camp received a total of 112 participants and nearly 40 percent of these students were second-year attendees, demonstrating the lasting and positive impact the sessions have made. 

You can learn more about Steps to the Top Leadership Center on Facebook and on Twitter @StepsToTheTop.

In the picture, Teresa is recruiting the National Youth Service Corps in Abuja to be mentors for the Steps To the Top Leadership Center camp.