The STAR (Students Taking Active Roles) Leadership Training has been recognized as one of the top leadership programs for youth in the country. It began with the belief that youth, when given the proper tools, can have a profound and lasting effect on the community around them. STAR empowers young people to become civically engaged and utilize their unique perspective to create positive change throughout Sarasota County.
STAR Leadership Training is offered three times a year. The 60+ hour training focuses on civics, government, philanthropy, and the development of leadership, communication and group work skills. STAR students will take part in team-building exercises and problem-solving challenges; they will also have the unique opportunity to see inside the Sarasota County government offices and facilities.
The STAR Leadership Training program is open to youth entering grades 9-12. Training sessions are held in the spring, summer and fall. Students who complete the training may be eligible for academic credit.
STAR graduates can choose to serve in a decision-making position as a full voting member of committees or boards throughout Sarasota County. Serving on these boards counts towards community service hour requirements and enables the students to have a real, measurable impact on issues, programs services throughout the community.
Upon successfully completing the STAR Leadership Training, students may be eligible to serve on a nonprofit board of directors or a city or county advisory board as a full voting member. Students are matched with a position for a one-year term, which can be renewed. There are currently more than 75 boards that welcome a STAR student.
A complete list of boards is listed here: STAR Partner Agencies
The success of the STAR Leadership Training led to a change in the Florida Statutes. In 2009, the Florida Legislature made it legal for youth age 15+ to serve as a full member of a nonprofit board of directors. This makes Florida one of just four states to allow young people to serve in this way.
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