THOMASVILLE — Stepping out of one’s comfort zone to make a difference while developing leadership skills is the lynchpin behind Thomas County Central High School Chick-fil-A Leader Academy’s IMPACT project.
Each year, the academy plans and holds an IMPACT project, which focuses on raising funds to help in-need community members. This year’s event is a barbecue picnic and hayride scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 10 at Saddle Creek Plantation and Equine (see box).
“The motto of the leader academy is ‘Impact for Action,’ and the goal of this year’s group of servant leaders is to make a huge difference in the community,” TCCHS Service Learning Coordinator Stann McLeod said.
Academy members brainstormed about community problems and how they could help to determine this year’s recipient.
“Students started talking about the IMPACT project and brainstormed about real needs in the community,” team leader Kristopher Wilhelm said. “We agreed that homelessness is a sad problem…and decided on the Fountain of Life Rescue.”
Fountain of Life Rescue is a local homeless shelter that helps meet the area’s homeless population’s needs. This project marks an ongoing collaboration between the academy and the nonprofit shelter. For example, students previously painted several interior rooms at the facility and intend to continue this service as time permits.
The academy teaches members how to serve their community and become brilliant leaders. McLeod leads the academy and assists youth in learning planning, organizational and communication skills.
“I am so very honored to be able to work with this year’s group of leader academy students,” McLeod said. “COVID has made our service projects much more difficult this year, but with the students’ innate desire to serve, they have done an amazing job in incorporating their current knowledge and skills into their projects. They will be more successful in this endeavor if the community supports them in this effort.”
Tickets to this year’s event are $10 for just a to-go barbecue plate (sandwich, chips, beans and dessert), $15 to get a plate and go on the hayride, and $30 for Boston butts, ham, or sausage. Meal tickets must be purchased in advance. Due to preparation needs, the deadline to buy tickets is April 3.
Organizers plan to make the event COVID safe and family-friendly with temperature checks, masks encouraged, social distancing considerations, and fun activities for kids.
“This would be an excellent time for families to come out and support their community while enjoying the beautiful outdoors and getting some fresh air,” McLeod said.
For more information, contact TCCHS CFA Leader Academy sponsor Stann McLeod at (229) 403-9525 or visit the Thomas County Central High School Facebook page.