New Jersey Health Initiatives - A Better State of Health
A Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Program
Grateful for the Opportunity to Grow – Now It’s Time to Make a Change!

I learned so many things during my first year in the Next Generation Community Leaders program. Elizabeth is my hometown and I was passionate about making a change here, but before I met my teammates and our coaches, I was a super shy person. I did not talk unless it was necessary. I was nervous to participate in our earliest introductions and ice breaker exercises. Through the program, I started to speak more, lead more, and participate in as many tasks as possible to develop our team’s summer project. I remember clearly how I learned to relax around others and overcome my shyness.

I am not the same timid person anymore. Now, I express my ideas and have a different perspective on life. My passion for making a change in Elizabeth has intensified because of my year-long experience as a Next Generation Community Leader. In addition, I learned so much about myself and I am grateful to have had this opportunity for personal growth. This program strengthened my communication skills, and developed my character and ability to build trust with others. I am proud of all of my fellow Next Generation Community Leaders. Collaborating with them was a great experience and the lessons I learned from each of these teammates will stick with me for life.

I know this year is going to be even better than the first. New ideas will surface, and we are working to have a greater impact that will make a difference for generations to come.

I have returned for another year with the Elizabeth Next Generation Community Leaders team and I know this year is going to be even better than the first. New ideas will surface, and we are working to have a greater impact. We are applying what we have learned from our programmatic work to advocate for our community. By having our voices heard, we can affect the policies where we live.

I firmly believe this year’s team is going to have an impact that will make a difference for generations to come. Now is our time to make a real change!

Follow Elizabeth’s Next Generation Community Leaders alumni to see their progress. Track all of the Next Generation Community Leaders alumni through the hashtag #NJLeaders2030.

The Grantee Blog regularly publishes updates from NJHI-supported communities. Bookmark this site to stay up-to-date and share in the work of building healthier communities across New Jersey.
Project
Author
Julie Ramirez
Organization
Groundwork Elizabeth