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The second annual Great KIDS Leader Impact Academy will empower leaders from all professional sectors to advance the well-being of Allen County’s children and families.  Our focus for this convening of the Academy is achieving positive youth development by utilizing strength-based practices, with particular emphasis on the 40 Developmental Assets.

The vision of the Great KIDS Leader Impact Academy is to help equip leaders in organizations (across all professional sectors) in our community who can have an impact on positive youth development through increased knowledge of strength-based practices.  The Academy participants, in particular, will spend time focusing on positive youth development as framed by Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets.

Upon completion of the academy, participants will receive a Continuing Education Certificate from Purdue University Fort Wayne.

There is no fee for participants.  Applications are accepted from June 3, 2019-July 3, 2019.  Applicants will participate in an individual interview prior to selection and the cohort will be notified of selection by August 1, 2019.


The Great KIDS Leader Impact Academy is designed for public and private sector leaders working in social services, juvenile justice, education, health care, law enforcement, mental health and other community organizations. Attendees of the Leader Impact Academy will be the current and future leaders of these organizations—responsible for and capable of effecting change. There is no fee for participants.


After completing the Leader Impact Academy training, participants will be responsible for the implementation of a Capstone Project — a set of actions designed and implemented by Academy participants to initiate collaborative efforts to improve awareness of evidence-based, positive youth development practices and the development of programs to address needs in Allen County.


The Academy has been developed through consultation with Shay Bilchik, JD, and Macon Stewart, MSW, of the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform, Georgetown University, McCourt School of Public Policy.

Funding for the Great KIDS Leader Impact Academy has been made possible by Foellinger Foundation.


Contact Joelle Schrader, Leader Impact Academy Coordinator, about applying for the 2020 class: joelle@greatkidsallencounty.org.

Check out our Leader Impact Academy Info Packet for more info.


Upcoming Lectures

Lecture on The Power and Place of Developmental Assets presented by Jim Conway, Search Institute

When: November 15, 2019

Where: North Campus Auditorium at the University of Saint Francis

About the Lecture: Search Institute’s research for more than 25 years with millions of young people clearly demonstrates the powerful impact of critical opportunities, relationships and personal strengths that young people need to succeed. The session will explore Institute’s research-based framework of 40 developmental assets and the cumulative power of assets to help youth grow into happy, competent and caring adults.


Lecture on Emotional Poverty: How to Reduce Anger, Anxiety, and Violence in the Classroom presented by Ruby K. Payne, Ph.D. founder of aha! Process

When: January 17, 2020

Where: International Ballroom at Purdue Fort Wayne

About the Lecture: Emotional Poverty is when the brain is unintegrated and unregulated, when the bonding and attachment is not secure, and the inner self is under-developed.   Having an understanding of emotional poverty helps in dealing with students who are angry, anxious and tending to violence. Learn that typical discipline strategies are only working with about half of students because many behavioral issues have very deep emotional roots. This training will provide strategies, understandings of the causes and sources, and vocabulary. In addition, it will help participants identify early the most probable sources of violence so that interventions can begin much earlier. The "emotional dance" in the classroom will also be named and discussed.


Lecture on Emotional Well-being: GRIT and the Path to Resilience, presented by Skye Berger, Chief Encouragement Officer at Door Opener Academy

When: March 20, 2020

Where: International Ballroom at Purdue Fort Wayne

About the Lecture: Emotional Intelligence has gained momentum as an awareness movement and understanding EI assists in understanding the role that resilience plays in overall well-being. The path to resilience begins with relationship.  Positive relationship development includes accountability and realization beyond behaviors that create intrinsic resilience.  Participants will learn to implement best practices to encourage feelings of youth connectedness to support systems. They will also explore GRIT and the growth mindset as a tool for increasing well-being and develop a plan to implement resources that can support their work to develop youth's growth mindset and overall well-being.


Lecture on Developmental Relationships and Sparks presented by Kent Pekel, CEO Search Institute

When: April 24, 2020

Where: International Ballroom at Purdue Fort Wayne

About the Lecture: Relationships are developmental when they help young people discover who they are, develop abilities to shape their own lives, and learn how to engage with and contribute to the world around them. A Spark is the hidden flame inside every young person that taps into their true passions, talents, skills, and dreams. This training will help participants be intentional and strategic in strengthening relationships in schools, youth-serving programs, and agencies while tapping into Search Institute’s research on Sparks as a gateway to relationship-building with young people.