THE PROVIDENCE HOUSING AUTHORITY
GRADUATES ITS FIRST YOUTH LEADERSHIP ACADEMY
October 13, 2011
Contact: Melissa Sanzaro
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Providence — The Providence Housing Authority (PHA) hosted a graduation for its first Youth Leadership Academy (YLA) class Thursday evening at 6:00 P.M. at the Thomas J. Anton Center at 50 Laurel Hill Avenue. Guest speakers included: Mayor Angel Taveras, Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare, Acting Police Chief Hugh Clements, PHA’s Executive Director Stephen O’Rourke, NAFI’s Executive Director Jay Paris, NAFI’s Director of Training Paul Lewis, and YLA graduate, Jonathan Nava.
The Youth Leadership Academy offers youth alternatives to gangs, drugs and other serious problems faced by young, male adults within their neighborhoods. The PHA wants to inspire youth to maximize their opportunities to become successful community leaders through the access and responsible use of post-secondary education and job trainings. The purpose of the program was to develop leadership skills for participants to prepare them as positive role models in the community.
Executive Director of the PHA, Stephen O’Rourke stated, “The program has been an extraordinary success. This group of young men has gained a tremendous amount of confidence that will undoubtedly translate into an eagerness for continued self improvement.”
The YLA was a 26-week program for teenagers conducted twice a week by the North American Family Institute (NAFI). Jay Paris, NAFI’s Executive Director stated, “I find it satisfying to see the positive results of the succinct collaboration of the PHA and NAFI. Through the Youth Leadership Academy, outstanding program models have been developed that we believe are unique to America.”
The YLA’s curriculum included classes addressing the following: leadership development, job readiness, civic engagement and conflict resolution. In addition, valuable mentoring, college tours, speaker’s bureaus focusing on careers and leadership, etiquette sessions, communication development, entrepreneurship, educational field trips, job shadowing opportunities and an introduction to the “green” world were provided.
Paul Lewis, NAFI’s Director of Training, stated, “The Youth Leadership Academy is a unique opportunity to showcase how true community partnerships can be successful. The relationship between the PHA and NAFI enables young men from the PHA developments to build leadership skills, make a difference in the community as well as prepare and ready themselves for employment. These young leaders have and will continue to positively impact the city of Providence, the United States and the World.”
Established in 1939, the Providence Housing Authority owns and manages 2,606 units of public housing and is contract administrator for approximately 2,500 units of Section 8 housing. Approximately 58% of its housing stock is designated for families with the remainder reserved for elderly and/or disabled individuals or families. To learn more about the PHA and its programs go to www.pha-providence.com.