Let me tell you about two kids.

Let me tell you about two kids.

Jaiden (above) and Mikaela (below, center) came into OPEN’s Family Leadership Training Institute from two very different places. Mikaela’s mom Kim says that “she’s always been a natural leader. When she sees something she wants to change, she speaks out. It’s a struggle to hold it in at times.”

On the other hand, Jaiden “was so introverted and shy — he’d hide under the table and stay in his own bubble,” says Lead Teacher Andria Reed.

“Mikaela wants to give everyone her all, all the time. [CLTI] has helped her structure that caring, and she stands up for others a LOT more now — she won’t just stand up and say hey, that’s not right — she’ll go comfort the person who’s hurting. That’s a real leader.”

Kim Dejan, Mikaela’s mother and 2016 FLTI NOLA graduate

After 20 weeks of FLTI’s multiple-intelligence leadership training, Mikaela has begun to set goals and make concrete plans for her vision. Jaiden is “is very eager now to raise his hand — and he always has the answer right! He’s still sensitive — but if you let him keep speaking, keep pushing, you can see his confidence grow.” And every step of the way, they’ve learned alongside their parents with FLTI’s two-generational model.

All of this culminated in one moment, as the FLTI family met to celebrate the first children’s cohort graduation. Every time a graduate stumbled or paused, Mikaela kept the rhythm going, telling each speaker “You can do it! You got this!” And Jaiden presented the opening address to the whole room — welcoming all to join them and “Stop the Violence, Increase the Peace.”

This is why the work is important. The future belongs to kids like Mikaela and Jaiden. With a visit to OPEN’s GiveNOLA page on May 3rd, you create a conduit for their energy, passion and belief. Please help them become the best leaders they can be.

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