Stepping up

Six graduate from CMCA leadership class with new resources, higher hopes

From left, Callaway Community Organizer Tad Dobyns poses with the 2013 Step Up to Leadership graduates: Tonya Smith, Demetrias Herndon, Jerry Damron, Mary Kay Glover and Sheryl Olson. Not pictured: graduate Devon Moser.

From left, Callaway Community Organizer Tad Dobyns poses with the 2013 Step Up to Leadership graduates: Tonya Smith, Demetrias Herndon, Jerry Damron, Mary Kay Glover and Sheryl Olson. Not pictured: graduate Devon Moser. Photo by Dean Asher.

As an intimate group of friends and family enjoyed dinner while waiting for graduation ceremonies to start Wednesday at the Callaway Electric Co-op, decorative table pieces were adorned with plaques that read “What is your passion?”

For Mary Kay Glover, her passion is working with Boys and Girls Club on substance abuse prevention and building life skills.

Tonya Smith loves working with children, and hopes to extend that passion to helping adults in her community.

Demetrias Herndon has his eyes set on earning his GED.

Those three are half of the graduating class of Central Missouri Community Action’s Step Up to Leadership course, a 12-week program designed to teach leadership skills to civic-minded adults in low income brackets.

Glover, Smith and Herndon joined Sheryl Olson, Jerry Damron and Devon Moser as the course began in May at the John C. Harris Community Center, with cooperation from the Fulton Housing Authority and the Soup Kitchen.

Each week focused on elements including leadership skills, teamwork and understanding diversity, as well as how board meetings are conducted and the laws that govern them.

“I learned a lot of skills, like basically working on myself to figure out how to associate with different cultures,” said Damron, who learned of the program after working on the Head Start Committee. “The diversity course was probably the biggest eye opener. We were all there to help each other understand each culture. It’s a pretty cool thing; I’d recommend it to anyone.”

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