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Youth Member Spotlight

Meet a Youth Member Dedicated to Making a Difference

The energy that our youth members bring to Leadership Toledo is exhilarating, and their achievements are inspiring – both for their peers and for the adults they work with. Once each quarter, we focus on an individual youth member and talk with them about their work with Leadership Toledo's youth programs, how it has changed their life, and where they think their experience will take them.

Janet Whitney headshot

Janet Whitney

Student, Toledo Early College/The University of Toledo

How and when have you been involved with Leadership Toledo?

I first started at Leadership Toledo as a Sophomore in their student signature program Youth Leadership Toledo. After that I joined their YIPEE groups my junior and senior year in high school. In YLT and YIPEE (during my junior year) I was a student member. My senior year I was apart of the Leadership Toledo Board as a youth representative and a senior leader in YIPEE.

What was your favorite moment or takeaway from your involvement?

My favorite experience or takeaway from my involvement has been networking. I have met so many wonderful people who have allowed me to understand different parts of myself. I have made so many fun memories at site visits, shadowing, parties, meetings, and more. I have grown so much as far as confidence, awareness, etc. 

How do you define leadership?

I personally define leadership as the foundation of generational change. Leadership allows us to take what we have and positively reform every aspect of our community. Leadership guides and strengthens are world and allows us stand up for injustices and inequalities.

What strategies or resources do you find useful in order to continue your leadership development journey?

I always find groups or clubs that specifically tackle different issues very helpful helpful. For example, YIPEE was based on Philanthropy, I didn't know anything about that and it helped me develop my leadership journey. Also a strategy might be constantly committing to things. When I volunteer or commit to things that make me uncomfortable that is me stepping out of my comfort zone and helping me continue my leadership development journey.

How do you stay active in your community?

I am constantly on the go. I volunteer and love to join clubs. I try and go to a lot of local events and advocate for better for our community. I volunteer for the Red Cross, Walk for Alzheimer's, Food For Thought, University of Toledo, etc. I was in and will continue you to be in clubs that focus on community building, leadership, philanthropy, people of color, and the development of healthy/positive mental and physical health. 

What's new since your involvement in LT? 

Since LT I have graduated high school and now I am enrolled at the University of Toledo. I am planning on joining lots of groups that have to do with leadership, and philanthropy. I plan to major in Healthcare Administration and study abroad. I also plan on staying on campus even though I live in Toledo. I am glad I have grown to be even more openminded and outgoing since being with LT and now I am heading off to do bigger and better things. I am so happy that I experienced LT and that I will always have people looking forward to my non-stop growing success!

What difference can you make through Leadership Toledo's programs? Contact us and we’ll explore the possibilities.

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