Project Inspire, a youth leadership program started by the Ysleta Independent School District, in conjunction with Dale Carnegie Training, has made its way to Eastwood's campus this year.
This eight-week long program is designed to help the youth develop leadership skills, specifically in the area of communication and relationships. This year, Dr. William Mitchell of Dale Carnegie has taken it upon himself as an instructor to teach a group of selected students from Eastwood and Bel-Air High Schools about skills they require to succeed in life. "I hope that they learn to be future leaders. I want them to develop self-confidence, as well as to become more effective communicators," Mitchell said. Mitchell has been instructing students with promising leadership qualities for 28 years.
The group of students, all of which are sophomores, routinely have meetings every Friday morning. During these meetings, Mitchell gives the students life-like scenarios that they must discuss and find solutions to overcome the obstacle presented. Sophomore Andre Borrego said he believes the prompts help him learn how to deal with certain situations that may arise sometime in his life.
Early on in the school year, Eastwood's counselors were given a notice from the Ysleta Independent School District to chose sophomores that had potential skills to be developed and enhanced through the program. They individually called students in and asked if they were willing to be a part of Project Inspire.
As Mitchell hoped, some of the members involved have seen a positive impact as they reach the last week of the program. Sophomore Marlina Novoa said, "I gained more confidence to talk to people. I learned how to trust other people. I learned that if you really want to go far in life, you have to be willing to work for it." Borrego also said he learned how to be a more social person. "I've also learned how to handle stress much better," he added.
Area Associate Superintendent Susanna Russell assists Mitchell with the Project Inspire sessions. "This has been a great experience for me," she said. "It is possibly the favorite part of my job when I get to spend a day with our kids." Along with Mitchell and YISD Associate Superintendent for Academics Angel Nieto, Russell developed the program. "I am passionate about finding ways to provide our students with the skills to become successful in school, work, relationships, and life." Russell explained.
Project Inspire started October 4 and will end on November 22. Five of the meetings have been held at Central Office, and the next two were hosted by Eastwood in the library. Their final meeting will be at Bel-Air.