Leadership Project Empowers Local Youth

Miss New York Kaitlin Monte works with students from St. Elizabeth Catholic Academy during an anti-bullying workshop.

St. Elizabeth Catholic Academy, Ozone Park, has been selected as the pilot school for Project Empower, a new non-profit organization that fosters leadership in young people and gives them effective guidance to visualize career goals and foster social entrepreneurship.
Project Empower is comprised the following components:

• BOSS, which prepares middle and high school students to be career ready through interactive business competitions, career-path exposure, and active mentoring;

• OUTREACH, which facilitates civic engagement of middle and high school students through interactive nonprofit competitions, exposure to charitable causes, and active mentoring;

• IMPACT, which will prepare young adults to be leaders in the nonprofit world via board/committee placements, social entrepreneurship, and other management activities;

• LifeLaunch, encompassing Internet-based life and career simulations designed to promote passion and awareness of career opportunities at a young age; and

• MERIT, which will provide scholarships to students who have demonstrated both academic achievement and outstanding leadership in Project Empower’s programs.

Zachary Graumann, co-head of communications for Project Empower, and Miss New York Kaitlin Monte introduced Project Empower’s components at a Nov. 2 press event held at the school.

Auxiliary Bishop Frank J. Caggiano, Vicar General, praised the partnerships that Project Empower will create, and recognized the leadership of Joe Sawe, founder and president of Project Empower, as the catalyst for the nonprofit group.

“This unique initiative brings together corporations, universities, both Catholic and non-Catholic, to benefit children who are attending our Catholic schools,” Bishop Caggiano said.

Understand Career Choices
“We want to give the students the tools they need to choose a career they are passionate about,” Sawe said regarding the project. “By bringing in outside partnerships with universities and businesses, students can understand the choices that will be available to them later in life after they graduate.”

“We’ve included elements of civil service so students can begin connecting with their community and seeing how easy it is to make a meaningful impact in their world,” said Monte, who serves as fellow co-head of communications with Graumann. “Our entire model is easily applied to schools and programs worldwide, so we have an opportunity to benefit an entire global generation.”

“I’m excited that St. Elizabeth Catholic Academy will be the pilot school for Project Empower,” said Bill Ferguson, principal of the Catholic academy, a pre-K through eighth grade school.  “It will take children out of the classroom and put them in real world situations where they can benefit not just while they’re students at St. Elizabeth’s, but in high school, college, and in their careers.”

Over the next few months, Project Empower will be introduced to other Catholic academies within the Diocese of Brooklyn.

Following the press briefing, Monte held a workshop at which middle school students from St. Elizabeth Catholic Academy were divided into teams, each charged with creating an anti-bullying communications campaign.

More information about Project Empower is available online at www.proempower.org.