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Wilkes Chamber Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, has been an umbrella of the Wilkes Chamber of Commerce since 1949. The Foundation’s was established to fund economic development, education, and special projects. One major focus is to provide educational opportunities for youth, develop leadership skills, and foster a commitment to community service.

The Wilkes Chamber Foundation partners with Wilkes County Schools supporting programs established and administered by each of these organizations.

The Leader in Me is Franklin Covey’s whole school transformation process. The program teaches 21st century leadership and life skills to students and creates a culture of student empowerment based on the idea that every child can be a leader. The “Leader in Me” is aligned with best-in-class content and concepts practiced by global education thought leaders. It provides a logical, sequential and balanced process to help schools proactively design the culture that reflects their vision of the ideal school.

The Leader in Me is aligned to many national and state academic standards. The process teaches students the skills needed for academic success in any setting. These skills include critical thinking, goal setting, listening and speaking, self-directed learning, presentation-making and the ability to work in groups.

United Teens in Action (UTA) is a youth focused civic engagement program designed for high school youth to increase their leadership experiences and help them become more involved with dynamic change occurring throughout the county. Students participating in UTA are chosen from each of the five high schools—Wilkes Early College, East Wilkes, North Wilkes, West Wilkes and Wilkes Central—with a specific emphasis on high school juniors. Participants in UTA are involved in a very dynamic and different program, one where they can learn and have experiences that they can take back to their schools, neighborhoods and communities.

Students involved in this leadership development program come together as a group, putting aside any type of high school rivalry as they begin building relationships. Students participating in UTA have the opportunity to learn about their community and discuss needs and changes as they see them for their county. While engaged these students are developing interactive and personal leadership skills.

As a part of the leadership program, UTA students are challenged to participate in community service projects. Through the service projects many students experience for the first time an opportunity to give of their time and energy to help others in their community. The UTA program and the service projects help these high school students acquire such skills as responsibility, discipline, organization, and community involvement.

UTA is a partnership between Wilkes Chamber Foundation, Wilkes Communications/RiverStreet Networks, Wilkes County Schools, and Leading to Change.

The Chamber Foundation embraces this opportunity for these high school students as they give their time and talent to improve their leadership abilities and improve their community.

Principal and Teacher of the Year - Awards presented in May of each year are a time of recognition and celebration of Wilkes County principals and teachers. Wilkes Chamber Foundation awards the principal and teacher of the year with a financial gift of $500 annually. This annual event, held at the Stone Family Performing Arts Center, highlights the selected teachers and principals nominated from each Wilkes County school and the Wilkes Early College. The selection committee determines the winners based on the teacher’s respect and admiration of their colleagues.

Over the past five years the Wilkes Chamber Foundation has contributed over $66,000 toward educational projects and programs. Thanks for supporting the Chamber Foundation.

Contributions to the Wilkes Chamber Foundation are tax deductible. Wilkes Educational Golf Tournament, held annually, is a fundraiser for the educational efforts of the foundation. Chamber members have an opportunity to contribute directly to the foundation by including a gift when renewing their annual membership investments.

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