Leadership U

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Designed for students entering their junior year in high school, the Leadership U program empowers students to learn by doing. Students can expect to:

  • Work in teams to discuss, reflect upon and develop solutions for problems that affect them and their peers in the community.
  • Develop mentoring relationships with adult community leaders. 
  • Learn about Howard County’s government, businesses, and services.
  • Hone their presentation skills. 

“I learned so much from Leadership U. I was given the amazing opportunity to work in a group that helped kids battling cancer. It was so rewarding to learn how to plan our project. I also learned about working with others, both inside and outside my immediate group. I am so thankful I participated in this program.” – Sophie Skalny

Information sessions for the 2020 program are scheduled for:

  • Monday, January 27 from 7 to 8 pm at the Miller Branch of the Howard County Library
  • Thursday, February 13 from 7 to 8 pm at the Central Branch of the Howard County Library
  • Sunday, March 1 from 3 to 4 pm at the Miller Branch of the Howard County Library

Benefits of LU

(2019) LU Program Overview

(2019) Key Program Dates

Photos from Leadership U 2018

Leadership U is a four-month program and consists of the following components:

  • A week-long summer program of team building, leadership skills development, tours of county facilities and identification of issues affecting youth in Howard County.
  • A fall session focusing on community service projects created and implemented by the students.
  • Program cost: $965 (2019). Tuition assistance is available, which must be requested at the time of application. Payment plans are available.
  • Schedule of Key (2019) Program Dates, click here

Leadership U is open to high school juniors who live or attend school in Howard County. Students may attend public or private schools. Home-schooled students are also welcome. To be considered, students must apply during their sophomore year.

Students must have a desire to learn about their community and a willingness to volunteer. LU is a great way to meet new people from different schools who share similar interests in knowing more about their community and who want to make a positive impact.

The program kicks off in July with daily team-building sessions and learning activities and continues with bi-monthly fall meetings. The Leadership U schedule works for many busy students, even those who have fall sports or other activities.  Summer Week 2020 will be held Sunday, August 2 (beginning late afternoon) and run through Friday, August 7, 2020.

Key (2019) Program Dates, click here

For the full schedule (2019), click here.

Leadership U graduates are encouraged to remain involved in the program by acting as student mentors to new Leadership U students and by spearheading their own community activities following graduation.  LU graduates often continue their community service through active volunteering, school leadership roles, and advisory board positions.   In the past, students have served on the Howard County Commission for Women, Student Member of the Howard County Board of Education, Police Advisory Board, Howard County Public School System Advisory Groups, #One Howard, and various nonprofit boards.  These student leaders provide a valuable youth perspective in these unique roles.  LU graduates also have participated in internships with the Howard County Government (including the County Executive’s Office), Howard County Council, and the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship.   Many have also found their expanded leadership capabilities valuable as they transition to college and other future endeavors.

Interested in Applying?

The application process for 2020 will be open in early-January, 2020.  Information Sessions are scheduled for January 27, 7-8 pm; February 13, 7-8 pm; and, Sunday, March 1, 3-4 pm (details noted above).  Applications and reference forms will be available online for current high school sophomores by mid-January 2020 and due mid-March 2020.  Personal interviews will be scheduled after application submission and students will be notified of their acceptance in May.  The program begins in the summer preceding the student’s junior year. 

“LU provided me with the opportunity to see how I can stay engaged in the community as a student and future leader to affect others.”  -Tommy Na

APPLY NOW LU Reference Form LU Tuition Assistance Form

Interested in Volunteering with LU?

If you enjoy working with high school students and want to help a motivated group of students make an impact on their community, please consider getting involved with Leadership U.

For information or to volunteer, contact Meg Ignacio at 410-730-4474 x115 or [email protected]

“Leadership U exposed me to networks of professionals in Howard County who share my passion for fostering social justice, which inspired me to further engage with my community and initiate action where it was needed and start a food pantry at my school.” – Madelyn Harris

Become a Mentor

As part of their leadership development, students work in teams and design their own community service projects. Adult mentors work closely with the teams, helping guide their efforts to produce valuable contributions to the community. Our teams of bright, energetic and dedicated teens meet twice a month on Sunday afternoons (from 2 – 4:30 p.m.) for 9 weeks, from August through December.

“When I was first approach about volunteering as a Leadership U mentor, I needed very little time to think about it.  Here was an opportunity for me to give back to my community and engage in my passion, volunteering.  LU gives great exposure to young people in Howard County, as well as leadership and skill development.  I will be celebrating my 5th year with the Class of 2019.  I can say with great confidence that mentoring with LU is quite an exciting journey.” – Taylor Kimble

Click here for a detailed Mentor Job Description

 “I built a strong relationship with my mentor, Mrs. Karen, and the director, Ms. Meg, that will allow me to contact them with any questions, ideas or comments I have about future issues.” – Nina Bundy

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