Inspired Leaders is creating a real difference in the community. Unfortunately, we do not have the economic support necessary to operate at full capacity. A major part of showcasing our organization is this website. Until we are able to get a full-scale website up and running, please bear with us.
Each summer, rising ninth grade students are selected to participate in a 5-week law-related education program. Students begin with Inspired Leaders during the summer before ninth grade in order to progress through the four summer law curricula. Classes are held from 9am to 4pm in a classroom at St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens, Florida during a specified 5-week period each summer. During the school year, our students engage in leadership trainings and community service activities.
The program consists of four tracks of content including:
Classes are team taught by current law students from different universities and overseen by President of Inspired Leaders, Roshni Phalgoo, JD. During their 1st and 2nd years students use the Street Law textbook (Glencoe, 2004) as their primary source of information and case material. Teachers supplement the textbook information with real life cases and hands-on activities. Both 3rd and 4th year students engage in an enhanced curriculum in order to build upon their skill sets and engage in more in-depth conversations concerning the law and the community at large. Students become stronger community leaders and better educated about how our society works as they pursue well-defined career goals and aspirations.
Students participate in specific activities including class discussions, debates, and logical arguments. Additionally, students have the opportunity to create and present projects to enhance analytical skills, oratory skills, writing skills, professional demeanor, and critical thinking. For example, one activity included in the curriculum is dissecting a legal issue from a hypothetical situation and then presenting both sides of the issue. Outcomes of the program include increased attention to detail, sound reasoning, awareness of local, state, and federal issues, enhanced writing skills, enhanced public speaking, and solidified aspirations for college.
Each school year, Inspired Leaders students engage in a leadership and service program. Leadership sessions are conducted interchangeably with community service activities. Each school year there are different leadership topics covered:
Students learn the fundamentals of leadership of an outward goal, and leadership of inner goals. Including creating a personal leadership brand, taking responsibility of one’s self and preparing one’s self for the college application process (including scholarship applications and college entrance exam preparations).
Please take a moment to read her note on what service means to her:
Service is not only something I do, it is a part of who I am. Service in the community started at a very young age as the daughter of two parents who help others whenever they can, even if it means going hungry so others can eat. It didn't realize it then, but they allowed me to develop this sense of service to others through Girl Scouting. My Girl Scout Troop 133, under the direction of Troop Leader Deborah Key and others, is where I was provided with opportunities to not just help others as they come along, but to seek out those in need and help create positive change in the lives of strangers. As I developed into a community volunteer I focused on civic minded topics at school and set my eyes on law school.
Throughout my studies at the University of Florida (UF), I found my self organizing new student organizations and volunteering for established groups. I should have known then that I was headed into a career of service. I took a trip with my parents to Trinidad & Tobago, where I was born -- and where much of my extended family still lives -- we purchased large quantities of groceries, including rice, flour, and sugar, and distributed it to hand-selected families that my maternal grandfather felt deserved the most help in the community. After that trip I was sure that helping people was my calling, but I still did not think that I could make a career out of it.
As I continued my studies at UF, and then at Ohio State University's Moritz College of Law, I watched my younger brothers engage in service at their high schools and then in college. In addition to all the volunteering they've done in Miami and Gainesville, one of my brothers even collected book bags and other classroom supplies and delivered it to a school in Trinidad. I could not have been more proud of them: volunteering in hospitals, working with terminally ill children, building homes for Habitat for Humanity, building schools in Nicaragua, and countless other instances.
My parents are big supporters of their children, and for that, they get all of the credit for all the good works the three of us have accomplished. Internalizing how easy it is is to put a smile on someone's face or give them a glimmer of hope where there may have been none before marked my determination to continue helping my community.
In law school I faced the biggest troubles of my life. For the first time, school had become challenging and, for the first time, I faced winter - a freezing, numbing, bitter cold that left me frozen. For the first time, I did not volunteer, I did not engage in school organizations, all I did was study and stay in, away from the cold. By my third year of law school I was much more engaged, I had learned to deal with winter and with my school work, and I started engaging with a program called the Law & Leadership Institute. It was a fledgling program teaching law and leadership to minority or disadvantaged high school students. My heart leapt! Although I was paid for teaching students about law, I spent much time volunteering to work with these students and with the program.
Upon graduation, my husband and I moved back to south Florida and I immediately started volunteering with nonprofits and then working part time for a few of them. I met many wonderful nonprofit leaders and realized that I could make a difference now and marry my passion for law and service in a much needed program. With the support of my husband and family, Inspired Leaders was born. I created and began to run a program on law, leadership, and service for high school students in the Miami Gardens area.
Inspired Leaders launched its first summer law program in 2012 and is now entering its 3rd summer of law programming. I have spearheaded curriculum, teaching, recruiting, fundraising, administrative tasks, and promotion. I built a board and secured classroom space, I've spoken to many community leaders and to many parents and students. I then launched our leadership and service program that takes place during the academic year. We've now completed 2 years of leadership trainings and community service activities. Many local leaders and business professionals have come out to speak with our students and parents are raving about the difference they are seeing in their children. All in all, I've run this organization for three years in a full-time unpaid capacity. You could say, volunteering is my life.
I have many people to thank along the way for leading me to this point in my life. I feel as though service is my purpose and I hope to inspire many as I continue to develop this nonprofit organization. www.inspired-leaders.org