Campus: CSU Fresno -- August 7, 2002

CSU Fresno Maddy Institute Hosts Valley 'CATAPULT' Students

The Kenneth L. Maddy Institute at California State University, Fresno is hosting 36 enterprising Central Valley high school students this week (Aug. 5-9) for the kick-off of a new 10-month leadership program focused on diverse topics such as health care, agriculture, the environment and the local economy.

The CATAPULT program is a first-of-its-kind effort to help Valley high school students learn to influence, and eventually become, decision makers in their communities. This is CATAPULT’s inaugural year and is a partnership effort between the Great Valley Center and the California Center for Civic Participation and Youth Development.

At Fresno State this week, the students will receive training and have the chance to discuss topics with dozens of Fresno business, nonprofit and community leaders. Local leaders slated to work with the CATAPULT teens include Supervisor Juan Arambula of Fresno County; Jesse Arreguin, executive director of the Fresno Regional Foundation; and Deborah Nankivell, executive director of the Fresno Business Council.

After the retreat, the teens – who were drawn from Valley communities stretching from Redding to Bakersfield – will return home and assess their own communities through peer focus groups and interviews with their local leaders. Influential adult mentors will guide them along the way.

“We made a point of including more than just the straight-A students or football team captains,” said Jim Muldavin, executive director of the California Center. “Instead, we looked for young people with untapped potential.”

A second session slated for Sacramento in December will enable the students to apply what they have learned at the state policy level. In the spring, they will then be responsible for enlisting a group of peers in a service project related to their issue.

In addition to a $1,000 stipend for participating, graduates of the program who later enroll in college will be eligible to receive a $3,000 scholarship from The James Irvine Foundation’s Educational Incentive.

The Great Valley Center is a private, non-profit organization that supports efforts to improve the economic, social and environmental well-being of California’s Great Central Valley. The California Center for Civic Participation and Youth Development is a nonprofit, nonpartisan civic participation organization striving to engage youth in the democratic process and encourage their healthy development.

Contact: Shirley Melikian Armbruster (559) 278-2795


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