Next GEN to Service is a collaborative initiative between United Way of San Joaquin County, the City of Stockton, and the San Joaquin County Office of Education. The program's core objective is to cultivate the next generation of nonprofit leaders by offering juniors and seniors in high school an immersive experience into the nonprofit sector within San Joaquin County. This is achieved through a combination of student-centered learning opportunities and active board engagement in local nonprofit organizations. Here is a breakdown of the two key components of the Next GEN to Service:
Component 1: Student-Centered Learning Opportunities
This component of the program focuses on providing a holistic educational experience to high school juniors and seniors in the program. Key features include:
- Educational Structure: The initiative spans seven months and is built upon a person-centered curriculum. This curriculum is collaboratively designed in partnership with students, ensuring it is tailored to their interests and needs.
- Classroom and Hands-On Training: Students engage in both classroom instruction and hands-on training. This dual approach allows them to acquire theoretical knowledge while actively participating in practical experiences.
- Nonprofit Agency Placements: Each student is carefully matched with a nonprofit agency, where they gain firsthand insights into the daily operations and functions of these organizations.
Component 2: Mentorship and Board Engagement in Local Nonprofits
The second component of the program involves being paired with a mentor in their designated nonprofit board, who can guide students through active participation in nonprofit board activities. Key features include:
- Board Membership: Selected students are given the opportunity to become members of local nonprofit boards of directors. This involvement exposes them to the decision-making processes, governance, and strategic planning of nonprofit organizations.
- Real-Time Engagement: Students actively contribute to the board's discussions and decisions, aligning their classroom learning with the real-time challenges and opportunities faced by nonprofit leadership.
- Understanding Nonprofit Management: By actively participating in board activities, students develop a comprehensive understanding of nonprofit management principles, including financial stewardship, community engagement, and strategic leadership.
The combined effect of student-centered learning opportunities and board engagement is to equip students with valuable skills, insights, and perspectives necessary for effective leadership in the nonprofit sector. This approach not only promotes community service and nonprofit involvement as career options but also strengthens the future of the nonprofit landscape in San Joaquin County.