Developing future leaders: Bank recognizes community-minded high school students
Sep 20, 2012
Twin sisters Laura and Megan Kohner, 17-year-olds from Palm Beach Fla., were only 7th graders when they started a nonprofit organization to incorporate literacy, learning and physical fitness to benefit their community. Their organization, Bikes for Kidz, uses the incentive of a new bike and helmet to help children reach specific academic goals. Now in its fifth year, the nonprofit has given away more than 1,000 bikes and helmets, partnering with many local schools and incorporating youth mentoring into the program.
This summer, Laura and Megan are two of more than 220 high school students recognized by Bank of America through our Student Leaders® program, which operates in 44 markets across the U.S. Through this signature initiative, the company recognizes juniors and seniors in high school for their passion and commitment to improve their communities. The students receive a paid summer internship with a nonprofit such as a local Habitat for Humanity or Boys and Girls Club through the program and travel to Washington, D.C., for leadership training.
The program is an important component in the company’s efforts to equip individuals with the skills needed to compete in the global economy and connect to 21st century jobs.
Highlights of Student Leadership Summit
Last week, the students participated in Bank of America’s Student Leadership Summit, which included leadership and financial education sessions, visits to Capitol Hill to meet with congressional members and more.
The summit featured a unique discussion of pathways to leadership with Anne Finucane, Global Strategy and Marketing Officer, and Barbara Bush, co-founder and CEO of Global Health Corps and daughter of President George W. Bush. The session offered students an opportunity to hear from two leaders at different stages of their careers about the challenges and opportunities for leadership in the community. Both women underlined that there are many ways to make a difference in communities, whether students advance in the private sector, pursue government work or choose a career in the nonprofit sector.
Also, at a service learning activity focused on helping military families, students filled more than 2,000 backpacks with school supplies for elementary school children in the metro-D.C. area. The project—a partnership with Operation Homefront, a Bank of America Charitable Foundation partner that supports military service members, and the Washington Redskins—included a competition for students, They organized their teams to efficiently complete backpacks, and then carried them down to military trucks for delivery.
Commitment to leadership
Investing in leadership is a core component of Bank of America’s corporate social responsibility activities aimed at strengthening local economies. In conjunction with programs such as Neighborhood Builders, which focuses on U.S. nonprofit leaders, and the Global Ambassadors Program, which helps emerging women leaders from developing countries, the Student Leaders Program offers young people an opportunity to develop their strengths and become more fully engaged as civic leaders.