Springfield retirement community residents raise funds to send student employees to weeklong leadership program
(Springfield, Va.) - Four years ago, Greenspring Post 123 was issued its formal charter as in independent Post in The American Legion. Today, the Post has 58 members at Greenspring. Since 2011, the Post has sponsored a local student who wishes to attend the Virginia Boys State program organized by The American Legion. The program teaches students how the Virginia government works while developing leadership skills and an appreciation for citizens' rights. This year, with added financial support from the Women in Military Service resident group at the community, Greenspring Post 123 will be sponsoring two students who also work at Greenspring. They will attend the parallel Virginia Girls State Program organized by the American Legion Auxiliary. The program will take place June 15-21 at Longwood University.
Pete Straub, Greenspring resident and Commander of Post 123, attended Boys State 56 years ago in Missouri and considers it a win-win for all parties involved. "I think it's a beneficial program," said Straub. "Students can be a part of democracy in action and learn about working together for a common goal."
The student employees attending the program, Yeawah Mambu and Jenny Portillo, are members of the dining services staff at Greenspring. Mambu, a Woodbridge High School student, grew up in Freetown, Sierra Leone, and moved to the United States in 2008 at 11 years of age. Portillo, whose parents are from El Salvador, is homeschooled and was born in Springfield. A third student from Robinson Secondary School, who is not employed at Greenspring, will also be sponsored by Greenspring Post 123.
According to the Virginia Girls State website, the "program teaches the formation and operation of city, county and state government entities. The participants vote and carry out elected and appointed positions in the Girls State government. The program gives participants the experience of living together as self-governing citizens with the privileges, rights and responsibilities of American citizenship, as well as the opportunity to gain knowledge of the American Legion Auxiliary."
In order to be eligible for the program, students must have completed their junior year of high school, have at least one semester remaining in high school, receive a physical exam, receive parental consent, and sign a pledge to adhere to all the rules and regulations of the program. All expenses are paid for by the sponsoring Post for each participant.
Upon their return from the Virginia Girls State program, the two student employees will provide a report of their experiences to Greenspring Post 123 and the Women in Military Service group.
About Greenspring: Greenspring is situated on a 58-acre scenic campus in Springfield, Virginia. The community is home to nearly 2000 residents, many of whom reside in the over 1400 independent living apartment homes. At Greenspring, over 200 resident-run and resident-driven programs promote an engaged, fulfilling lifestyle that is reflected in resident satisfaction levels that exceed the industry average. Additional information about Greenspring can be found at www.ericksonliving.com.