Nonprofit to cultivate local youth leaders
July 18, 2017
A nonprofit dedicated to cultivating high-school students in Churchill County through leadership, education, awareness and development (LEAD) recently launched.
Former Greenwave Garrett Kalt, who graduated in 2014 from Churchill County High School, started the Nevada 501c(3) nonprofit known as LEAD Green with the help of community leaders.
"This organization will provide students with a unique opportunity to grow as leaders and personally as individuals," Kalt said. "LEAD Green is one way for me pay it forward and give back to a community that shaped me into the person I am today."
The organization's mission is to encourage high-school students throughout the county to become community leaders equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to improve their respective communities and have a successful future, according to LEAD Green's bylaws.
"We are excited for our first major project, the LEAD Green Leadership Summit, taking place Aug. 4-5," Kalt said.
The summit will occur at CCHS in the auditorium and possibly use classroom space, and the group expects to have about 80 high-school students in attendance. Participants will take part in leadership workshops, student panels, group activities, networking and a service project among other happenings as well as explore career advice and hear from keynote speakers.
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Registration is $10 and provides meals for the weekend, all conference materials and a T-shirt.
The conference theme is "Discovering Your Why," and the nonprofit's website shares the following:
"Every person knows what they do. Some people know how they do it. Few people know why they do it. Your why is your purpose. It is a cause or belief that inspires you and those around you. Life gets a lot simpler when we stop to ask ourselves why we do things … participants will learn more about themselves as they further develop and define their purpose and aspirations for life after high school."
LEAD Green also focuses on sustainability, designed to propel students to be better leaders for their own communities.
Kiley Woolsey, CCHS alumna and former student body president, is assisting with recruitment and said she's excited to be part of this experience.
"Everything is coming along so great," she said. "Garrett's doing an amazing job … He's still getting in touch with students."
Woolsey added he was her Greenwave student body president her freshman year.
"(Garrett's) making sure it's not just oriented toward students who are in student council," she emphasized about the program and summit. "People in the band or FFA, or ad (advanced) mechanics or pep club — they have leadership. Really anybody who has any interest should take this opportunity up."
Woolsey added the speakers will be an inspiration to everybody there.
The program idea started halfway through the nearly 11-hour drive between Fallon and Pullman, Wash., as Kalt reflected on the opportunities he received which were built on the foundation provided by his Fallon community; on that car ride, as Kalt was returning to Washington State University for his junior year, LEAD Green was born.
LEAD Green shares it was Kalt's desire to give future leaders growing up in Churchill County the tools and network to inspire them to be superior leaders making sustainable change, empowering them to enact change in their communities by bettering themselves. The program strives to provide students with development training and education that allows them access to invaluable personal development motivated by the place they call home.
The nonprofit is focusing on three main functions: the annual leadership summit, scholarship opportunities and a mentorship program. As LEAD Green grows, the plan is to provide two scholarships for graduating seniors who display exceptional leadership qualities. Also as the mentorship program is formed, high-school youth will be paired with community leaders to increase job shadowing, career planning and overall development.
LEAD Green currently has six unpaid volunteers who serve in various leadership roles within the organization including the following: Kalt serves as president and CEO; Teresa Gehman, a former school counselor, serves as vice president and a board member; and Cheryl Venturacci, an academic adviser for Oasis Academy College Preparatory school, serves as secretary and a board member.
Other board members include Steve Johnson, a CCHS science teacher, and Kathleen Williams-Miller, a former Churchill County School District teacher of 27 years. Alan Kalt, Garrett's father and Churchill County's chief financial officer, is serving as treasurer.
Garrett Kalt said LEAD Green will always be welcoming to passionate volunteers who want to make a difference — and they can become involved through the Leadership Summit.
"We also gladly accept monetary donations," he added.
LEAD Green contributed to this story.