We’re all familiar with Gandhi’s quote, “Be the change you wish to see”, but this can also apply to leadership. Transformational leaders lead from a perspective of service to those they lead and extends to being of service to the community. Here’s an example of how our firm continuously invests in walking our talk.
Yesterday, we had the privilege of spending the morning with teachers and administrators from the nonprofit Just For Girls Academy. The new charter school will serve at-risk, young girls from the Sarasota/Manatee area of Southwest Florida. The school, led by CEO Becky Canesse and Principal Dr. Jennifer Rosenboom, is incorporating Equine Facilitated Experiential Learning into their core curriculum. The ongoing program will be conducted at SMART (the Sarasota Manatee Association for Riding Therapy, a community nonprofit that has been serving children with developmental disabilities for twenty-five years. The objective of the program is to cultivate empathy and emotional intelligence skills as part of what Becky Canesse refers to as, “Teaching the whole child”.
Research clearly demonstrates, a person’s level of emotional intelligence contributes to 80% of our success in life, with the remaining 20% driven by our cognitive abilities. Working with the horses elevates the children’s self-awareness, self regulation, social awareness and relationship management skills as well as cultivating empathy and respect for other sentient beings. By focusing on cultivating empathy, the school hopes to sidestep many of the bullying issues that have become so prevalent in our society.
What we find so exciting is we’re creating very innovative for profit/nonprofit partnerships that will contribute to the strength of the community and quality of life for at-risk girls for years to come. In fact, the work actually resonates generationally, helping to open up new horizons that disadvantaged young people may have never seen otherwise.
If you’d like to learn more about yesterday’s events you’re welcome to read the full story about our event in today’s Bradenton Herald. I also encourage you to visit and generously support the Just For Girls Academy and SMART organizations. Both nonprofits do incredible work for our most vulnerable citizens.
© 2012, Terry Murray.