According to the youth in Fairfax County, a leader is not defined by age, rather, someone who is willing to serve themselves and their community.
“They help other people, they educate other people,” said Aru Rajpurohit, a Chantilly high school student.
“Someone who will put themselves before others,”said Daniel Hwang, a Centerville high school student.
That is exactly what a select group of 30 out of 100 candidates are doing with the county’s youth leadership program that works with the public school system and the county government to help students link local government with their everyday lives.
“We recognize that local government is not really taught as a part of the SOL curriculum so we created a program, that was what we call the government, that is closest to the people, so that the students could learn about their local government,”said Martha Reed, the youth leadership program coordinator.
“I basically shadow almost all the attorneys. So I have opportunities. I file a lot of their documents, I write up some of the court documents and I had the opportunity to visit the police academy,” said Hwang.
It’s all real-world, hands on training, that the county provides to propel these leaders into the working world.
“If high schoolers, if middle schoolers just are a bit more engaged with their community, I think it is super important because then those are the same services that you use in college or adult life and I guess you just become more aware of the things that the county has to offer,” said Rajpurohit.
“If you can apply, I think you should just go for it. If you get in, it is a wonderful opportunity,” said Daniel Hwang, a Centerville high school student.