Student Leaders Seek Program Development

Student Leaders Seek Program Development

COVID-19 Leadership Challenges for College Ready Students: Part 1 of 3

In response to protecting students from Covid-19, many colleges will not be using SAT and ACT examinations as part of the college acceptance process. Schools will continue to be challenged on how they will grade students as they rely on more distance learning assignments. Even though some students will struggle on how they will demonstrate their leadership and community service, others will pursue significant learning activities through school-based, community, and project-based learning activities.

Students Seek Opportunities

As a volunteer trainer for Silicon Valley SCORE (, I provide trainings on how folks can develop and recruit volunteers and write grants for nonprofit projects. At the peak of the shelter-in-place state orders, I was contacted by high school students who wanted to expand school-based programs for students. The students had formed their nonprofit services under nonprofit sponsors. When contacted, I emailed an online computer template for students to complete. I also told them that I would introduce them to nonprofit leaders that might be able to serve as their fiscal agents or include proposed programs as an agency service. Finally, I advised students to buy a grantwriting book (e.g. Simplified Grantwriting) and goggle how to write program goals, objectives, and activities, and review examples of funded grants. Many students could use these projects as their leadership documentation to be accepted into top ranked universities.

The Learning Process

Students would then email their draft grant templates and set up Zoom meetings to discuss potential grant proposals. Grant development challenges may include:

  1. The students could experience technology challenges with a limited ability to effectively demonstrate service delivery skills and program materials.
  2. An incomplete grant template may not adequately identify a target population or justify a need for services with supporting data.
  3. Added program flexibility must consider the needs of students in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  4. An evaluation process should docuement how students can measure changes in program participants’ behaviors and academic performances because of a program’s interventions.
  5. Budget line items with a justification for specific costs must calculate the actual cost for the program.

Is is also essential for students to take the time to review other funded grants, online grantwriting resources, online grant development options, and have peers and adults review their work. Students may become overwhelmed in how they must adapt their program with modified programming this school year. These real-world challenges will provide students with rich lessons for life-long learning.

Much success as you nurture your children’s leadership skills in fundraising and program development.

Mary Ann

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