Updated February 23 at 11:56am
10/22/12 09:21AM

Leadership Central Falls launches on the same day the city emerges from bankruptcy

October 21, 2012 (Providence, RI) - Leadership Rhode Island is sponsoring, with corporate and alumni financial backing, a six-month leadership development program called Leadership Central Falls …

October 21, 2012 (Providence, RI) - Leadership Rhode Island is sponsoring, with corporate and alumni financial backing, a six-month leadership development program called Leadership Central Falls which launches this Thursday, October 25th - the same day the city's bankruptcy officially ends.

The newly designed program, an effort to create a sustainable model of community development, based on the progress residents of the City of Central Falls and Leadership Rhode Island have made together over the past year, will bring together two-dozen individuals (established and emerging leaders) from Central Falls who will commit to at least 100 hours of community service upon completion of the six month program. Based on Leadership Rhode Island, but with a primary emphasis on the stewardship of Central Falls, the intent of Leadership Central Falls is to create and invigorate a cadre of champions for the city as it makes its way out of bankruptcy and returns to a democratically empowered government.

"The residents of Central Falls are re-energized, ready to take back their city," said Mike Ritz, Executive Director, Leadership Rhode Island. "Leadership Central Falls will be the first time, we believe, when multiple C.F. stakeholders representing different industries, sectors, and social and economic networks will come together for this length of time. This isn't about votes or individual selfish financial interests. Leave your ego at the door. Leadership Central Falls is focused on what it takes for a successful turnaround and a bright future... identifying what's best for Central Falls moving forward and then putting those ideas into action."

Leadership Rhode Island applied its 2012 theme of IDEAS, an acronym for Imagine.Discuss.Engage.Act.Solve., to the City of Central Falls. Several hundred people were interviewed in Central Falls about their community. Many projects resulted from these discussions including facilitating the Central Falls Charter Review Commission; hosting debates for State Senate, State Representatives, and Mayoral positions; spearheading a “get out the vote” campaign; helping to form a strategic plan for Project GOAL; developing parent workshops with the Family Leadership Institute at Central Falls High School; creating a Dine Central Falls weekend; participating in Earth Day Clean Ups; developing and piloting an e-mentoring program for CF Middle School Students; hosting art workshops for C.F. children this past summer; designing and instituting a chocolate bar promotion in conjunction with Whole Foods, AAA, Navigant Credit Union, Adams Memorial Library, and Chef Andrew Shotts of Garrison Confections headquartered in Central Falls; encouraging recycling in Central Falls; starting a Neighborhood Watch program; hosting public policy students from Brown University on a tour of Central Falls; hosting students from Central Falls who visited entrepreneurs in the local area to strengthen pride in community; and the design and implementation of the Leadership Central Falls program which will begin on October 25, 2012. LRI also toured Masters in Public Policy fellows from George Mason University which resulted in a municipal crisis financial toolkit publication.

"In my many years of experience in community building, it doesn't get any better than this. Everyone involved should be very happy about the many accomplishments achieved in such a short period of time," said Jane Nugent, LRI's IDEAS Council Liaison and one of Ritz's proclaimed key thought leaders, in reference to the community building initiative spearheaded by the participants of the 2012 Theta II Class of Leadership Rhode Island. The members of Leadership Central Falls will be presented the Theta II body of work at their first session day and given the opportunity to continue the existing projects.

Members of Leadership Central Falls were identified by participants of the 2012 Theta II Class and then selected for their demonstrated commitment to Central Falls, their influential voices within the community, their desire for positive change, and their promise of future stewardship of their city. Unlike LRI's tuition-based Core Program, no participants are required to pay for Leadership Central Falls. The expenses of this program will be covered by funds received from Amica Insurance, National Grid, The Providence Journal Foundation, Leadership Rhode Island alumni, and private donations made by concerned residents of Central Falls.

For more information about Leadership Central Falls or Leadership Rhode Island, visit www.leadershipri.org.

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