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Youth Leadership Academy Kicking Off This Summer
Updated May 21, 2014 6:57 AM
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(BEDFORD) - Lawrence County leaders announced an innovative new youth development program, the Lawrence County Youth Leadership Academy (YLA). Duke Energy is investing $15,000 to fund the program for the first two years.

The objective of YLA is to seek, prepare, involve and sustain young leaders from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds and teach them about the numerous assets and opportunities within the Lawrence County community.

The class is comprised of five full-day sessions from June 23 - June 27. YLA is for males and females currently completing their eighth grade year in school. Class size is limited to 20.

YLA, spearheaded by Bedford Mayor Shawna Girgis, Bedford Chamber of Commerce President Jamie Medlock, Boys and Girls Club Chief Professional Officer Kyle Brown and Duke Energy Government and Community Relations Manager Bruce Calloway, is a creative week-long program designed to build young leaders in the Bedford area.

"We've wanted to do something like this for a long time," said Mayor Shawna Girgis. "Investing time and energy in our youth is the most important thing we can do for the long-term success of our community."

The program is focused around five pillars: education, career development, health and wellness, community service, and government.

"Our goal is to motivate and inspire kids," said Jamie Medlock. "We have an opportunity to actually make a difference in some of these young lives."

YLA is seeking at least one male or female from every middle school in the county.

"The summer before high school is a key development time for teenagers," said Kyle Brown. "This program should help equip participants with the tools they need to be successful in high school and beyond."

"Duke Energy is proud to support a program that invests in young leaders and provides sustainability, enrichment and enhancement for the entire Lawrence County community," said Bruce Calloway.

Students can pick-up applications from guidance counselors at each middle school in Lawrence County. Area residents can also nominate students to participate in this inaugural event. Applications are due by Wednesday, May 28th Applications can be submitted to middle school guidance departments or sent to the Bedford Chamber c/o Jamie Medlock. Email submissions will also be accepted to

For an application, nomination form, or additional information contact Jamie Medlock at, or call (812) 275-4493.

ABOUT THE DUKE ENERGY FOUNDATION: The Duke Energy Foundation makes charitable investments on behalf of Duke Energy, the largest electric power holding company in the United States with 7.2 million customers in six states. Over the foundation's long history in local communities, it has identified focus areas that maximize the foundation's dollars and guide the foundation's giving. The foundation makes grants supporting the environment, economic development, education and community vitality. In Indiana during 2014, the Duke Energy Foundation will invest approximately $2 million statewide in not-for-profit organizations. To learn more about Duke Energy Foundation, visit

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