While revitalization projects for communities are ever present, the PA-Leadership Alle Kiski Valleyorganization (LAKV) is looking to revitalize the community by focusing on educating community members themselves in hopes of helping them obtain leadership qualities and positions.

“Our mission is to be growing tomorrow’s leaders today,” explained Communications professional Chad McCutcheon. “We are looking to have a positive effect on the valley by creating future leaders in business through a leadership program.”

Sponsored by the Alle-Kiski Strong Chamber, this is LAKV’s 25th year of serving the community.

LAKV provides a nine-month program that focuses on leadership skill building, business networking, and community service programs. With emphasis on creating community leaders in business, the LAKV seeks to assist community members in informing them of regional issues, networking, and promoting and developing more extensive levels of community activity and awareness.

“The program is geared towards people who are in entry level to mid-level positions in companies who want to expand their own business or community profiles,” saidMc- Cutcheon. “We encourage people with those attributes to apply for this program. They’ll leave with a well rounded synopsis of what it is like to be in a leadership role.”

Those interested in the program are required to submit their application by Sept. 15. The cost of the program is $1,200 and includes a retreat, meals, and session materials.

“We don’t really turn away any applicants, but we look at the applications in order to consider what everyone’s goals are,” said Mc- Cutcheon. “The cost of this program is right on par when compared to some leadership programs. Compared to others, it’s quite a deal.”

This year’s program will run from October to June, kicking off with a retreat at the Ligonier Camp and Conference Center. The class will meet once a month at a different location each time, and have a different focus each session.

The topics of focus will vary from culture and community life, education, healthcare, government, law and justice, economic development, human services, marketing and fundraising.

“We’ll have speakers come in for every session and they lead the meetings,” explained McCutcheon. “We do this in order to have community members who are already in business leadership positions explain their own duties, and roles in their communities.”

According to McCutcheon, the program also requires participants to keep a monthly blog on the sessions, as well as shadow or observe a nonprofit board. The class will also be required to create, and coordinate a fundraiser in order to test their leadership.

Along with getting things started for this year’s program, and celebrating their 25 years, the LAKV also just brought Michele Pastrick on board as the new Program Manager.

“Michele has been a breath of fresh air,” said McCutcheon. “She has exciting ideas on how to guide the program in the future. We’re excited to have her leading, though we offer our thanks to our previous director Diane who kept us focused.”

“I like having the knowledge that the efforts I’m making are creating better opportunities to the citizens of the valley, and strengthening the region,” said McCutcheon. “The more education we provide, the more respected leaders we’ll have, and the stronger the community can be. Seeing working people seek to improve themselves and make the region stronger is really what makes me smile.”

Applications can be found online at Details or questions on how to apply can be directed to LAKV Program Manager Michele Pastrick at 724-681-4109.

Sponsorships are accepted on various tiers ranging from $100-750. In celebration of the PA-Leadership Alle-Kiski Valley’s 25th year, they are asking for alumni or personal donations in the amount of $25.

Sarah Steighner is a staff writer for the Leader Times. She can be reached at 724-543- 1303, ext. 1337