By LeAngela Colbert, Xerox Social Service Leave recipient

 Spending 2012 at the Center for Leadership Development in my hometown of Indianapolis.

“Without community service, we would not have a strong quality of life. It’s important to the person who serves as well as the recipient. It’s the way in which we ourselves grow and develop.”

For me, this quote from the late Dorothy Height sums up the value and reward of community service, an experience I’m living right now as part of the Xerox Social Service Leave Program, devoting my time to the Center for Leadership Development (CLD), in my hometown of Indianapolis.

With just a few months into my work at CLD I’ve witnessed personal growth and development   I have realized that the need is so much larger and that I truly have the ability to be more involved.

Recently, CLD held its 32nd Annual Minority Achiever and Scholars Dinner. This dinner is a showcase of the brightest minorities who have “given back” through their profession and community service. The dinner also highlights the significant academic talents and successes of “CLD Scholars”—young people awarded educational scholarships for their persistence and diligence in realizing their intellectual and educational potential.  This year, 14 colleges and universities awarded more than $2 million in scholarships to 37 CLD participants.

CLD Scholarship Recipients

It was a wonderful evening.  As the event’s coordinator, I was able to apply my skills in a different way.  Looking out at the ballroom—filled with people from big companies, small business, government, non-profits, individual supporters, and academic partners— there was gratitude in my heart to be a part of the event. It was a confirmation that people “buy in”– that they want our youth to succeed.

When the scholarship recipients lined up in front of the stage and were presented their scholarships my heart overflowed with joy. It reminded me that everyone has a story, and that too often the challenges faced by our youth are so great.  One can but wonder how some muster up the strength to persevere.

It’s important to for us all to do our part to ensure that our youth have the opportunity. And that they are prepared, and that they understand how one opportunity opens the door to another.  So to again borrow from Dorothy Height, who said that to improve your quality of life, become involved, because your contribution is important and the return is immeasurable.

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