First Year of College Youth Leadership Program Nears Culmination

Published 04.13.2011


The inaugural Penn College Youth Leadership class Intently listening to group presentations are, from left, William J. Martin, Davie Jane Gilmour, Vincent J. Matteo, Sharon J. Jones and Valerie A. Baier Montoursville High School's Jake Russo gestures toward the screen during a report on Hope Enterprises Youth leaders listen to Penn College student panelists, from left: Larz J. Fernandez, of Brooklyn, N.Y.; Juan M. Soria, of Apple Valley, Calif.; Michael A. Coletti, of Yorktown Heights, N.Y.; Jordan A. Pennypacker, of Birdsboro; and Gregory J. Miller, of EastonStudents from area high schools gathered in the Thompson Professional Development Center on Wednesday for their final presentations in the fledgling Penn College Youth Leadership program. Each of the four groups recapped its community-service work with a local nonprofit agency: the American Rescue Workers, the Sojourner Truth and Saving Grace ministries, Hope Enterprises, and the Williamsport YWCA. The teenagers also toured campus, ate lunch in the Capitol Eatery and attended a panel discussion among Penn College students. While the agencies they visited were varied, the students asked by college President Davie Jane Gilmour to recount the most surprising aspect of their experiences found common ground at all: a humbling awareness of the local need for social services, a heightened appreciation of community volunteers, the ripple effect of seemingly small kindnesses, the unfailing optimism of agency clients and gratitude for one's blessings. A graduation ceremony for the students will be held May 4. On hand for Wednesday's program were President Gilmour; William J. Martin, senior vice president; Elliott Strickland, interim chief student affairs officer; and Valerie A. Baier, administrative assistant to the president. They were joined for the presentations by Vincent J. Matteo, president and CEO of the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce, and Sharon J. Jones, who formerly managed the youth initiative when it was overseen by the chamber.