For nearly two decades, the Light Foundation’s Vohokase Cultural Leadership Program has been our flagship youth program. It allows young men from select cities around the country to make a four-year commitment to growing and becoming valuable leaders in their own lives and communities. Our mission to take young people out of their everyday environments and provide them with unique opportunities that ignite their passion, purpose, and motivation to succeed.
An important element of this program is the hometown visits our Camp Director Brandon Ervin makes with the Campers three times a year. In addition, to his weekly check-in calls with these sixteen young men are in-person visits that allow them to bond with one another, get to better know our Foundation staff, and provide them a chance to give back to their own neighborhoods through a service project. Camp Vohokase builds character and lifetime friendships, which is why hometown visits are so important.
The community service opportunities we offer these young men are coordinated through our network of local connections in each city. Camp Vohokase Senior, Hayden Lewter from Hammond, Indiana, offered his father Bill Lewter, as a resource. Bill is the City of Hammond Building Inspector, and along with Parks Administrator Jim Taillon and Parks Superintendent Devin Wick, created a two-hour community service project cleaning up trash around Dowling Park in Hammond. The opportunity would not have been possible without the commitment from Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. and his Chief of Staff, Phil Taillon.
The young men grabbed a trash bag and picker and got to work! Leadership is built on the foundation of community service and nobody understands that more than our Hammond, Indiana Seniors. This project helped the young men build up those critical skills by doing a selfless act for the place they call home.
We are grateful for people like Bill and all the city officials for allowing our young men to take these necessary steps on their leadership journey. These future leaders willingly spent time cleaning up park trash for two hours on a Saturday because they know how important it is to have a heart for service. Hayden, Will, Eric, Jalen and Milton worked together as a team to make an impact because they know they are each vital links in the great chain. Their unique commitment is what makes the Vohokase Cultural Leadership Program so special.
At the conclusion of the project, the Campers left with values and mindset needed for success. Community Service is the main component of our program and the results of this visit allowed them to take another step forward toward achieving their leadership status.
We owe a huge thank you to Bill Lewter, Jim Taillon, Devin Wick, Thomas McDermott Jr., and Phil Taillon for taking time out of their schedules to dedicate to the Hammond Campers. People helping people is what makes this world work, and we are forever grateful at the Light Foundation for the type of people who make our world a better place. Stay tuned for details on our next hometown visit to Darke County, Ohio.