Author: Isaiah Allen
I recently heard a TED Radio Hour highlighting how itis that influential experts in highly specialized fields like chemistry, physics, and theoretical mathematics possess strong interdisciplinary capacities. These experts are rarely the most elite practitioners of their specialty, but they are able to communicate how that specialty field intersects other disciplines or has broader social/cultural implications.
That discussion reminded me that leadership is the ultimate interdisciplinary specialty. Leadership matters in every field of study, in every profession, and in every industry. We just wrapped up our 2017 College Pay It Forward Tour season. Over the past few weeks, about 1,100 college students rode buses across the country and discovered leadership in themselves and in each other through volunteer service, relationship building, and collective action.
I had the privilege of meeting up with 230 of these students in Denver as six bus tours met up for a shared day of service and celebration of their experiences. Denver could not have been more beautiful host city with cool mornings and warm sunny afternoons. We served at a local park doing spring landscaping and facility maintenance. The park employees were beside themselves with appreciation for the STLF students. A highlight while were working in the park was a quartet of young ladies performing a Beyonce’ song with rake handles standing in for microphones. They actually were impressive performers.
That evening the quartet leader, Kayla, spoke during our Celebration event about her STLF experience. She reflected on how a Pay It Forward[PIF] Tour is a powerfully transformational experience and reveals transformational leadership.
“In the seven days we spent together we brought smiles to faces, we laughed and cried together, and we made a difference in people’s lives. The people on my bus helped me believe in myself and find my worth at a time when I was having a hard time finding it for myself. This experience has restored my faith in humanity. STLF is a testament that there are some amazing people in this world.” - Kayla
As I listened to Kayla share about her experience and looked around the hotel banquet room full of young adults with stories like Kayla’s, I was struck with the strength of the support network that made PIF Tour experience possible. Those students represented $27,000 of investment in emerging leadership from generous alumni and community members like you.
This investment prepares, equips, and motivates youth leaders to bring the impact of their experiences and leadership into their academic and professional fields. STLF supporters understand and embrace the impact of strong and skilled leadership. You can join those supporters by supporting another emerging leader like Kayla at www.STLF.net/donate