The purpose of the program is for leadership development, said Meriam Harris, the volunteer executive director of LeaderKids. When the program began 21 years ago, local eighth grade students were invited to participate in relationship building with their mentors.
Harris said that the program helps to inspire self-confidence, leadership skills and relationship growth.
“I think it’s a real win-win,” Assistant Director of the Leadership Center Tyler Fisher said. “We’re giving back to the community, helping eighth graders during this transition time, and also benefitting our students in many aspects.”
Students directors said they enjoyed their experiences interacting with the eighth graders.
“As I got into it and got into the mentoring role, I realized how much these students latch onto this type of human connection,” said Maddie Blagg, executive director of external affairs for LeaderKids. “It was very unique to me because it showed that any sort of interaction that they could get, particularly from a mentoring standpoint, having a mentor in their lives, was so remarkable and watching them grow in it.”
The eighth graders said they felt as though LeaderKids would help them to becomes better leaders. Other eighth graders said they were excited to see the TCU campus.
“Oh it was fun. We got to take pictures by the fountains, like the Frog Fountain,” said Bridget Wright, eighth grader at Benbrook Middle-High School.
Two students from each of the 23 middle schools in Fort Worth ISD were asked to participate in the program.
LeaderKids is sponsored by Leadership Fort Worth, which is a program that aims “to empower and connect diverse leaders who serve as catalysts for a vibrant community,” according to its website.
The students meet once a month, from 2 to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays.