By LESLIE COLLINS
December 18, 2013
For the first time, the Northeast Kansas City Chamber of Commerce will be hosting TakeCharge, a five-month intensive program geared toward creating community leaders.
Capitol Federal presented a $5,000 check to the chamber Dec. 12 to fund the program which begins in January.
“It’s very important we build and continue to build leadership for the Northeast Kansas City area,” said Northeast Chamber President Bobbi Baker-Hughes.
TakeCharge is open to Northeast residents and businesses free of charge and includes 15 sessions lead by a variety of community leaders, like Missouri state Rep. JJ Rizzo, Jackson County Legislator Scott Burnett, City of Kansas City Manager Troy Schulte, local attorney Jim Bowers and others.
“We have a really good faculty lined up,” said TakeCharge Program Coordinator Jim Rice. “Some of the best people in the field are represented. For example, you’ll have an hour-and-a-half with the city manager. Nobody, not even the city manager’s wife, gets that much time with him all at one time.”
Session topics will include Northeast demographics, economic development, historic preservation, local and state government, the Kansas City Land Bank, social service network and more.
Rice said the program originated with the University of Missouri Extension Service and was later modified by the Northland Neighborhoods, Inc. and further modified for Historic Northeast.
“The original idea with the Northland Neighborhoods was to prepare people to take on responsibilities of leadership within their neighborhood organizations but also to become capable board members for other non-profit organizations.”
Rice said the program has been successful and several Northland graduates became board and committee members and also moved on to “significant civic responsibilities.” One graduate is now a member of the City Planning Commission.
The first step toward leadership is having widespread knowledge about the city, how it works and the levels of government, he said.
“You will come out of this program with enough knowledge that you can engage people who are more deeply involved in that particular field; you will have the knowledge base to assume leadership. You will be equipped to be better leaders even if you already are one.”
Another aspect of the program will include a case study pertaining to a Northeast issue, which will be decided upon once the session begins in January. Participants will be divided into two groups and will make a case for each side of the issue. The case study will teach participants how to work with other people and work toward a strategic goal, Rice said.
Class space is limited. Interested individuals should sign up for the program as soon as possible by contacting Northeast Kansas City Chamber Executive Director Rebecca Koop at (816) 231-3312.