2019 Palmer Award Winner

What a joy it is to announce the recipient of this year’s Palmer Award! Please meet and congratulate TahLea Wright!IMG_0616 2

TahLea is a student at Moravian College (PA) and attended the 2018 national session of the Institute in Massachusetts. TahLea’s vision work in the year that has passed since she attended the Institute has focused primarily on empowering students, with special attention to young women of color, to step into leadership and advocacy.

TahLea has engaged in her work on the local level as a Summer Youth Program Coordinator in 2018 and 2019 through the Volunteer Center of the Lehigh Valley with the responsibility of co-creating a leadership and service program for area high school students. In 2018, the focus of the program was Homelessness and Food Insecurity in the Lehigh Valley and TahLea engaged the participants in the program through interactive activities, guest speakers from local non-profit organizations, leadership exercises, and a service project. This program lead to the creation of the Youth Volunteer Council at her college. The mission of this council is to be the premier resource that coordinators and connects a diverse culture of youth to community service within the Greater Lehigh Valley. In 2019, the summer program included a World Café event, giving the students the opportunity to be in round table conversations with non-profit representatives from five different organizations. For a glimpse of how the program unfolded, take a look at a video that TahLea created about the week.

Through the Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Moravian College, TahLea had the opportunity to serve as a THRIVE Peer Mentor. Not only did she support her two mentees transition to college and through their first year of college, she was there for them when they applied to serve as mentors themselves. Good news – they were both selected!

IMG_10211Working on the goLEAD program has given TahLea valuable experience toward her longer-term goal of creating a national after school program pairing elementary and middle school students with high school and college student mentors. And her involvement as a THRIVE Peer Mentor has provided a direct line to young women of color, a community that TahLea cares deeply about. TahLea is also Vice President of Gamma Sigma Sigma, a national all-inclusive service sorority, and was named the Outstanding Sophomore Leader of the Year through Omicon Delta Kappa.

Ultimately TahLea wants people to know that they can be successful, feel cared for and loved for who they are, and to believe that they can make a difference as leaders and advocates. We can’t wait to see what is next for TahLea and her vision work!

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Palmer Award Finalists: Nabeel and Le’Otis

In the third installment of our Palmer Award announcements, we have our final two Palmer Award finalists to share with you. Please meet Nabeel Ahmed and Le’Otis Boswell-Johnson!

Nabeel attended Central Michigan University’s session of the Institute. While there, he developed a vision that was focused on a world where clean and drinkable water is valued and available for everyone. Recognizing that there is much to learn about water treatment, Nabeel got to work and focused his masters’ research on the purification and reclamation of wastewater.

Through this research, Nabeel is working to discover solutions to the problems related to water treatment. By writing and publishing articles about this research, he hopes that he is building awareness around the world’s water crisis as well as demonstrate the possibilities that exist through research.LSH-all-banners-LO-RES-7

Nabeel’s Institute experience continued this year when he served as a challenge course facilitator for CMU’s 2018 session.

Le’Otis, Institute graduate from the Florida State University session, has a vision of a juvenile justice system that is rehabilitative in nature, giving youth an opportunity to turn their lives around.

To prepare to make an impact on a long-established punitive judicial system, Le’Otis is now pursuing his Juris Doctorate at Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern. Prior to enrolling on law school, he spent a year tutoring and mentoring at risk students with City Year. His work at City Year fostered the academic and personal growth of those he mentored, potentially lowering their risk of ever entering the juvenile justice system.

Le’Otis is also the co-founder of Sons of Sophistication Mentoring Program. Based in Tallahassee, FL, the program provides high school aged men of color with mentors from Florida State University, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, and Tallahassee Community College.

Join us in wishing Nabeel and Le’Otis success in their work to create a more just, caring, and thriving world!

If you haven’t heard who our two other finalists are, you can read about Malik and Pooja here. Then visit this post to learn all about this year’s Palmer Award recipient, Briana Landis.