CLD has terrific impact on our young people - Indianapolis Recorder Newspaper: Opinion

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Community Conversations CLD has terrific impact on our young people

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Posted: Thursday, September 12, 2013 12:34 pm

There is nothing more precious than our children. But today, I ask, are we doing enough to teach them how to succeed in life, no matter what our economic background?

Some parents invest time or money in programs to help their children excel in sports or arts, but what about helping them excel in character development, educational excellence, leadership effectiveness, community service and career achievement?

Those are the five guiding principles of the Center for Leadership Development (CLD) in Indianapolis.

I profile non-profit groups on WTHR, but I can tell you, personally, that CLD has remarkable impact. All five of our children, in a blended family, graduated from CLD programs which prepared them for college and for life in ways that I could not. I grew up poor, with no belief that I would go to college. It seemed a dream unattainable, financially. However, I was determined to attend, so that I could help my mom financially someday.

I worked to pay my way through college, but I would have been ecstatic to be a part of a program that built my confidence, as I ventured into the world.

Today, we have rich resources right here in Indianapolis and one of them is CLD. It serves minority children from all economic backgrounds, offering low-cost programs, to help shape them into future professionals and community leaders. CLD exposes young people to minority professionals who guide and mentor them and serve as role models, inspiring them to “be all that they can be.”

One of the programs helps children focus on their self-development and it has them declare what they want to be some day. The concept is that, “If you believe it, you can achieve it.” Then, CLD provides tools to help them meet those goals.

The Indianapolis Recorder recently asked CLD President Dennis Bland about his dream for America, on the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. In that article, Dennis referred to the sacrifices of civil rights leaders from the past, saying, “… our leaders worked hard to get us access to quality education – yet, many youth drop out of school.” He added, “As Dr. King stated, “We have to be prepared to walk through the doors as they open.”

I was struck by Dennis’s comments because I know, firsthand, that CLD is one of those open doors. I want more of our children to experience its impact. I urge parents to invest in their children’s future by enrolling them in CLD programs.

CLD is so highly-respected that many Indiana colleges provide scholarships to CLD graduates. As a community, we can invest in CLD, taking part in its Youth Empowerment Walk & Community Day Sept. 21. CLD is helping our children – our most precious gifts – become outstanding citizens, professionals and community leaders

You can email comments to Angela Cain at acain@wthr.com.

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