Sunday, July 3, 2022

Youth Leadership SKIL Immerses Itself in Entrepreneurship

Over the last four months, the youth leadership group, Southlake Kids Interested in Leadership (SKIL) have been meeting regularly with TD Ameritrade representatives to not only learn what it takes to operate one of the country’s largest brokerage firms, but to learn valuable entrepreneurial skills from company leaders.

SKIL is a youth leadership program where students and adults can work together to make Southlake a better community by enhancing engagement with the City’s youth through educational and leadership opportunities. The program was created in 2015 through a partnership between the City, Carroll Independent School District and the Southlake Chamber of Commerce. In 2018, TD Ameritrade joined the program as a partner to introduce hands-on financial and entrepreneurial skills to the students.

“When I envisioned a youth leadership program, I knew we had to include the business community as a partner because they helped mold Southlake in to what it is today,” SKIL founder and Southlake Mayor Laura Hill said. “By having partners like TD Ameritrade involved, we enhance the experience for our students and also build a stronger sense of community.”

TD Ameritrade has spent the last several months mentoring and training the youth leadership group by assessing and identifying problems with services, forming an understanding of solution-based service and learning the operations of a top performing financial services business. As a part of this entrepreneurial experience, the students also get to learn from John Huffman, Southlake City Councilmember and local entrepreneur, and get a better understanding of what it means to be trained in a profession and what it takes to be an entrepreneur.

“Entrepreneurship is important because it can harness some skill sets that many students don’t even know they have and can help guide them as they select careers,” Southlake City Councilmember and local entrepreneur John Huffman said. “I’ve personally learned a lot through my own experiences as an entrepreneur and passing some words of wisdom onto these young leaders is so important in today’s competitive environment.”

For more information about SKIL, please visit the City’s website.

Fourth Generation of S.K.I.L. Students Kick-Off the Year Talking About Leadership

The community’s youth leadership program S.K.I.L. (Southlake Kids Interested in Leadership), kicked-off its first meeting with the fourth generation of students on Monday, October 15 with Mayor Laura Hill and Council Member Chris Archer to discuss leadership in the community.

More than four years ago, Mayor Laura Hill envisioned a youth leadership program that would create better decision makers by engaging students in their community. From this vision, S.K.I.L. was formed and has become a valuable and highly sought after program. Students in the program are selected from Carroll Senior High School at the beginning of each academic year. The program allows students to participate in a meaningful way to make the Southlake community better.

“This is the fourth year for the program and it keeps getting better every year. We have to make sure our youth and future generations are equipped with good leaders and S.K.I.L. is just the right tool to help make that happen,” said Mayor Laura Hill.

Training future leaders brings in a new generation of fresh ideas and helps to foster an interest in good government. “I am beyond excited to welcome this new group of leaders and work with them. The program creates meaningful life experiences for the students that they can take with them in future leadership roles,” said Deputy Director of Economic Development & Tourism Daniel Cortez.

This year’s group of S.K.I.L. students will get to work with the City on various topics such as finance, infrastructure and development in addition to working with Carroll Independent School District and the Southlake Chamber of Commerce. One new addition to the program this year is a youth entrepreneurship focus where the students will work with the program’s newest partner, TD Ameritrade, to sharpen their entrepreneurial skills.

This year’s selected S.K.I.L. students are: Emma Cave, Christopher Ciccone, Trevor Easton, Eric Eaton, Chase Gardiner, Olivia Hein, Nadia Khalil, Lauren Kim, Emily Kennedy, Sachi Kishinchandani, Zeena Mahmud, Kelli Nusspickel, Sophia Polisetty, Ryan Sahihi, Rohun Shroff, Simrun Shroff, Farees Syed, Pablo Valderrama Pena, Matthew Vinson, Michelle Wu.

For more information about the S.K.I.L. Program click here.

Southlake City Council Adopts Youth Master Plan Ordinance

Southlake City Council adopted the 2035 Youth Master Plan at the September 4 Council meeting. This new master plan element recognizes the importance of investing in the younger generations and their role in the City’s future.

The purpose of the Youth Master Plan is to establish clear goals and priorities for the next several years related to building up and encouraging youth in the community.

“The Youth Master Plan is a brand new element in the Southlake 2035 Comprehensive Plan that was developed by the community’s youth and provides recommendations to strengthen a number of existing youth-related programs as well as provides many recommendations related to leadership, community engagement, health & wellness, and volunteerism” said Senior Planning and Development Services Director Ken Baker.

In total, there are twenty-one (21) recommendations in the Youth Master Plan. Grouped by the categories listed above, these recommendations speak to involving the community’s youth in the policy and decision-making process, expanding library programming, promoting safety and security, as well as health and wellness programs, and even working to expand volunteer opportunities for the youth. A major takeaway from this plan is that the City should actively seek the youth perspective when developing certain master plan elements, expanding youth programming, and ensuring the City does what it can to foster an environment where youth have opportunities to build leadership and job skills, and remain or become engaged stakeholders in their community.

The plan underscores that to successfully implement the developed recommendations it is critically important to maintain a strong partnership with our citizens and continuously identify opportunities to engage our corporate citizens and various community groups.

To ensure adequate representation and feedback from the community’s youth, City Council appointed the Southlake Youth Action Commission (SYAC) to develop this plan. City staff also held meetings with the Southlake Kids Interested in Leadership (SKIL) and the Community Engagement Committee (CEC) between October 2017 and March 2018. All three committees participated in surveys, tabletop exercises and discussions that provided invaluable insight in the development of this plan, particularly in regard to furthering youth engagement in Southlake.

If you have any questions regarding the Youth Master Plan please contact the Planning and Development Services Department at (817) 748-8621 or visit our city website.

Student Leaders Honored in Second Annual SKIL Awards Reception

The future never looked brighter than it did Wednesday, May 17, night at The MarqSouthlake. City leaders, Mayor Laura Hill, CISD trustees, parents and students involved in the SKIL (Southlake Kids Interested in Leadership) program convened to celebrate the end of the program’s successful second year.

SKIL is a youth leadership program created in partnership between the City of Southlake, the Carroll Independent School District and the Southlake Chamber of Commerce. The program’s mission is to enhance engagement with the city’s youth through education and leadership opportunities, or, in Mayor Hill’s words, “to give the kids a seat at the table.”

Before Mayor Hill took the stage to discuss the program and bestow accolades upon the SKIL participants, Daniel Cortez opened the evening with some remarks about the program.

Cortez, the program’s City staff liaison, spoke about how proud he was of this year’s SKIL group, which includes 20 juniors from Carroll Senior High School. After starting the program in October, the group visited various departments throughout the city, and also visited the capitol in Austin to learn about leadership at the state level.

The program’s second year culminated with a presentation to City Council on Tuesday night, followed by the awards reception on Tuesday. During the ceremony, Mayor Hill awarded each student with a plaque and a Certificate of Achievement. Carroll Senior High teacher Eddie Morman, Chamber President Mark Guilbert and CISD Superintendent Dr. David Faltys also spoke about their pride in the program, but the Mayor wasn’t finished doling out awards to the crop of talented Dragons.

SKIL student Ganeev Kaur was awarded $2,500 for the college of her choice, and Kaur currently plans to study medicine after graduating from Carroll Senior High in 2018. Furthermore, Kaur will be interning in State Representative Giovanni Capriglione’s office this summer—just one example of the stellar work being done by the motivated students in the SKIL program.

Applications for next year’s SKIL group will open up in August, and next year’s group will have big shoes to fill. As Morman said, “There’s no doubt about it—these kids are the best of the best.”

Visit the City website to learn more about the SKIL program.