Two students from Monterey County were selected as Bank of America Student Leaders, a program that offers 300 community-minded juniors and seniors across the United States the opportunity to develop important leadership skills and strengthen their commitment to improving their communities.
Justin Wang, from Monterey High School and Ashley Pacheco, from Notre Dame High School, were selected for their leadership, background, passion and commitment to the community.
Wang worked 12-hour workdays while planting over 200 tree saplings for 10 miles in areas eroded by wildfire. Pacheco, passionate about childhood hunger in Monterey County, volunteered with food banks and schools where children lack access to sufficient food.
The Student Leaders program was started in 2004 and provides community-focused high schoolers with firsthand experience in serving their communities through an eight-week, paid internship with local nonprofits. Both Wang and Pacheco will be working with the local Boys & Girls Clubs of Monterey County on a collaborative, mentor-focused project.
In partnership with the Close Up Foundation, the Bank of America Student Leaders will also participate in a leadership summit in July. The summit will provide students with the opportunity to see firsthand how nonprofits, governments and businesses collaborate to meet local needs. Student Leaders will meet with members of Congress, hear from human rights advocates and participate in workshops and other activities.
About 15% of all young people, approximately 4.7 million, fall into the category of disconnected or “opportunity youth,” meaning they aren’t in school and don’t have a job. Bank of America said that it believes that without access to opportunities that build career skills, many young people may be left behind, leading to higher rates of youth unemployment.
As part of the company’s commitment to responsible growth, the company invests in the communities it serves through programs and partnerships that address complex societal challenges. Since 2004, Bank of America has connected more than 3,000 community-minded students to employment, skill development and service.
“Bank of America is steadfast in our commitment to supporting young adults by connecting them to jobs, community engagement opportunities and leadership development,” said the president of Bank of America, Monterey Bay, Jennifer Dacquisto. “Young adults are the future of Monterey Bay, which is why programs like Student Leaders are one way we can provide paid opportunities for students to gain positive employment experience while developing a diverse pipeline of talent as they enter our local workforce.”
Contributed by local news sources