A South Dade organization called Superhero Leadership Academy (SLA) has been formed to provide growth opportunities that empower underserved youth by fostering personal confidence and leadership skills. The program involves schools from Hialeah south to Homestead.
Jean Tong-Noon, a Cutler Bay resident and community activist, is excited about the potential of the effort.
“Our view is that there is a Superhero in each of us,” Tong-Noon said. “We work with teens from middle and high school in communities classified as low income areas.”
She said the goal is to mentor and give the opportunity that is not always available to the teens, such as resources, attending local business or government workshops, and interning with businesses
“Hopefully this will help them choose careers and move on to college. The State Attorney’s Office has been a huge supporter in this effort,” Tong-Noon said.
Katherine Fernandez Rundle, the current state attorney for Miami-Dade County, is on the board of directors for Superhero Leadership Academy Inc. Others include Jean Tong-Noon of Thread of Life International Inc., Julius Jackson of Social Investment Holdings & People Helping Each Other, Da-Venya Armstrong of Armstrong Creative Consulting, Gus Barreiro of The Children’s Trust, Francisco Cantero of Florida Power & Light, and Nalisa Saati of the Center for Social Change who is the executive director of SLA.
SLA is a new 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
“We began by forming the YAC (Youthheros Advisory Council),” Tong-Noon said. “Youth meet once a month to open discussions and various speakers. They phone conference every Friday with advisors, board members and guests; the learning goes both ways. Before closing they are given a word to research for the next call in. There is so much energy and excitement at these meetings. The students are already meeting with the principals and student groups at their schools and getting things started.”
Later the teens, guided by advisor/teachers, will in turn become Superhero Group leaders in their schools and help other students. Once the program is established, more is planned for the future. The students also will be interning in the participating government and organizational offices on teacher work days.
Nalisa Saati reports that the Center for Social Change has set up a button for donations for Superhero Leadership Academy on the website at https://secure.qgiv.com/for/cfsc/restriction/SuperHeroesAcademy.