Club Member Spotlight: Suné V.’s STAR Leadership Training takes her to Colorado

Suné with fellow SCAS President Marianna Janz-Wecke at the 2018 Sister Cities International Annual Leadership Conference.

Suné V. is a senior at Sarasota Military Academy who recently graduated from our STAR (Students Taking Active Roles) Leadership Training program, an award-winning opportunity where high school students participate in 65+ hours of leadership training with special focus on active citizenship, government and philanthropy. STAR intends to connect teens like Suné to community leaders while empowering them to use their voice to make a difference, find ways to contribute their talent to the greater good and inspire to be lifelong agents of social change.

At the completion of the program, teens are eligible to serve as full-voting members of county or city advisory boards, on board of directors for local non-profit organizations, or on community-wide committees focused on social issues. Students are matched with a board position based on their personal career goals or interests in a nonprofit’s mission. Serving on these boards counts toward community service hours requirements and enables the students to have a real, measurable impact on issues, programs and services throughout the community.

After Suné successfully graduated from STAR, she was paired with the Sister Cities Association of Sarasota, which fosters international relationships between Sarasota and cities that have similar interests by creating exchanges in areas of culture, education, tourism, business and government.

Suné met like-minded peers at the 2018 Sister Cities International Youth Leadership Summit.

As a board member, Suné has become a part of the official community effort to broaden world peace through friendships and continues to meet interesting, well-traveled Sarasotans who share a passion to develop respect, understanding and cooperation through citizen diplomacy.

The Sister Cities Association of Sarasota recently sent Suné to the 2018 Youth Leadership Summit at the University of Denver in Colorado as the organization’s Sarasota Youth Ambassador.

“It was such a pleasure to see Suné representing the city of Sarasota at the Summit this year,” said Marianna Janz-Wecke, President of the Sister Cities Association of Sarasota. “She was able to meet so many young girls and boys from around the world.”

The goal of the conference was to foster the next generation of citizen diplomats and leaders through specialized simulations, site visits, speaker sessions and peer interactions that empowers youth to think globally about critical issues.

“The Youth Leadership Summit was an experience that I will forever remember!” said Suné. “I came out of my shell and am now more extroverted than I have ever been. I met people from all over the country and was able to make lifelong friends. I am so grateful to have participated in STAR. The program ultimately shaped my experience, and allowed me to join this amazing board. Now that I’m back from the trip, I will be dedicating my time to create a youth committee within my organization. I am so excited for what’s to come!”

Isabelle Eidet, Vice President of Membership at the Sister Cities Association of Sarasota said, “I hope Suné will apply what she has learned to her projects with Sister Cities, including initiating a Model UN class with a local high school and/or with a global digital classroom, with some of our Sister Cities’ high school students. This program boosts our future leaders and high school students’ understanding of international diplomacy using critical thinking to communicate, debate and negotiate with other delegates using a crisis scenario to find resolutions to peacefully resolve conflict. We are so fortunate to have Suné serve on our Board.”

To learn more about the STAR Leadership Training program, click here or call 941-366-3911.