Family Leadership Training Institute teaches how to lead, and where to lead to | VailDaily.com

Family Leadership Training Institute teaches how to lead, and where to lead to

Meighan Lovelace is a graduate of the Family Leadership Training Institute. For her project she helped launch the community gardens in Avon. Here she teaching a Growing Gardners class at the Family Learning Center in Edwards. Applications are being accepted for the 2016 FLTI class.
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The Family Leadership Training Institute

The FLTI is a free course designed to build family involvement and leadership skills. Each participant spends more than 120 hours developing skills needed to become effective leaders in their communities. Once accepted into this initiative, you’ll go through a 20-week curriculum that integrates personal and child development, leadership training, civic literacy and civic participation skills. Participants develop a community project to complete the program.

Participants get childcare and dinner to make it as family friendly as possible.

For more information, contact Glenda at 328-8632 or glenda.wentworth@eaglecounty.us. Registration can be completed at http://www.coloradofamilyleadership.com/. Click on the red tab (accepting applications now) on the left hand side.

EAGLE COUNTY — Leadership skills can be taught, learned and improved, and if you want to change your world, then you have to know how.

Meighen Lovelace learned how. So did Jennifer Pronga and dozens of others through the Family Leadership Training Institute, a free course designed to build family involvement and leadership skills.

The premise is that family members and people who are engaged with children are the ones most passionate about making changes in their communities.

Classes start in January and run 20 weeks.

The first 10 weeks is leadership training. The second 10 weeks is civics education, introducing participants to local and state governments, and programs available that provide all sorts of assistance.

“If you want to implement something, you have to know who to talk to,” said Jeanne McQueeney, former school board president and current county commissioner. McQueeney helped launch the program locally because she said she believes in it.

“You can gripe to your friends about a problem, or you can learn to contact the right people and try to do something about it,” she said.

Participants cover a wide range of humanity, from people in their late teens to people in their early 70s, and cross all income levels.

“The class works because it’s about learning to work with people different than you,” McQueeney said.

They’re careful not to select people based on political affiliation or philosophy, McQueeney said.

Project passion

Every participant does a community service project.

“If there are 25 participants, you’ll see 25 projects around the valley,” Pronga said. “It could be something like helping people who are struggling with learning English.”

Meighen Lovelace graduated the program, and for her community service project she started the Community Gardens in Avon.

When it came time for Lovelace to do her project, she went back to her roots, literally and metaphorically. She approached Tsu Wolin-Brown with the local Salvation Army to help raise money and support to start Avon’s Community Gardens.

The garden is now in its third year and they partner with all kinds of programs. Kids learn some botany, people get a clearer picture of where food comes from — that you can’t eat unless people get their hands a little dirty.

“People get to grow the food they donate to the food bank,” Lovelace said.

The Avon Community Garden gives away most of their spots to low income families, Lovelace said.

Along with being a FLTI site coordinator, Lovelace is now a fellow with the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, among other agriculture organizations, working at the state and national levels. She just returned from Washington, D.C., where she talked to members of Congress about sustainable food sources.

“The community service projects are based on their passions. That’s why it’s so powerful,” McQueeney said.

Past graduates have pushed legislation through the state Legislature, developed a statewide resource directory and found funding for weekly tutoring sessions for at-risk students.

The program was launched in Connecticut, is in 20 states and came to Colorado in 2009. Eagle County joined four years ago.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.


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