Delta Region — Class II of the Mid-South Delta Leaders program launched in June with its first retreat entitled I Am…You Are…, which was held in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
“We have gathered an impressive group of 45 individuals from throughout the tri-state Delta region who are committed to improving the quality of life in the Delta and have a strong commitment to professional and personal growth,” stated Dr. Myrtis Tabb, MSDL Tri-State Leader.
“We had exciting plans for our first retreat together,” said Christy Montesi, MSDL tri-state director. “We explored individual communications and motivation styles with Jim Corter through the DISC inventory. [DISC is an assessment tool used for behavioral profiling and stands for Dominance, Influencing, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness.] He provided each participant with a detailed analysis of his or her individual styles, which will lay the foundation for their MSDL experience together.”
Through exploratory exercises like the DISC inventory, in-depth discussions, walks, and study tours, participants realize an important goal of the program: “Their relationships become bound with the glue of earned trust–high stocks of social capital–which will be one of the most lasting and positive effects of the program,” Jerry Smith, MSDL Arkansas coordinator, explained.
Alumni of the first class of Mid South Delta Leaders are building on the relationships that they formed during the 18 months of the program. Two MSDL leaders, Frances Thrasher and Scott Cox, have partnered on a project that will promote programs available at the seven technical college campuses in the Delta Region to Louisiana’s high school students . It would target those programs that have high job demand and that provide higher wages for Louisiana Delta residents.
Another group of leaders – Linda Stringfellow, Valerie Smith, Michelle Fuquay, and Rodney Francis – have formed Delta LINCCS (Leaders Innovating Community Collaborations). This project will offer mini grants to nonprofits to address issues in youth education, capacity building and volunteer assistance. These projects are supported in part by the small “Living Practicum” grants provided by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.