World-class leadership programs empower Alberta students with the
confidence, resilience and motivation to lead in life
CALGARY, Sept. 29, 2011 /CNW/ - The Werklund Foundation's Empowering
Minds leadership programs today celebrated a major milestone: the
graduation of the 2,000th student from the life-changing Teen Leadership Breakthrough program.
The milestone, announced during the Werklund Foundation's first annual
fundraising gala, comes just five years after their student leadership
programs were first introduced in Alberta.
Deanna Werklund, president of the Werklund Foundation, was instrumental
in bringing these student leadership programs to Alberta. Having
completed several professional development courses in her career,
Deanna was struck by the impact of one executive leadership training
program she completed.
"When I finished the leadership program, I immediately thought about the
impact this kind of experience could have had on my own life if I had
taken it as a teenager," said Deanna. "We worked with several
provincial school boards to implement the Werklund Foundation's
Empowering Minds leadership programs five years ago, and I'm thrilled
that we've now been able to hold 50 Teen Leadership Breakthrough
courses which have allowed 2,000 Alberta students to experience the
"I believe that every student in the province can benefit from this
leadership experience," Deanna continued. "We have made great strides
and know this program delivers incredible results, but we need support
and funds to drive faster progress and bring the programs to more
An independent evaluation of the Werklund Foundation's Empowering Minds
Teen Leadership Breakthrough program by the University of Calgary
displayed powerful results. Student alumni demonstrated significant,
long-term and sustainable effects, rarely seen in such programs.
Werklund Foundation's Empowering Minds leadership programs help provide
preventative solutions to very real issues like teen depression,
bullying and peer pressure. Teenage depression has increased 300
percent since the 1970's and today one in 10 teens suffer from it.
"Teens are especially vulnerable to limiting their view of themselves in
order to be accepted by other people or to fit in, and are at risk of
using unhealthy behaviours to cope," said Cathy Keough, a supervisor
with the Calgary Counselling Centre. "I have seen firsthand the
life-changing impact of the Werklund Foundation's Empowering Minds
programs with Calgary students. It empowers them with the tools to take
charge of their lives and their choices, and ultimately succeed in
"This experience changed my life in so many ways; it helped me to find
my voice. It has given me the strength to stand up for myself and take
control, and I encourage my friends and family to do the same," said
McKenna Simpson, a graduate of the Empowering Minds Teen Leadership
Breakthrough program and Grade 11 student at Central Memorial High
School. "Today, I have a clear goal: I'm going to be a paramedic in the
military. With the support of my school guidance counselor, teachers
and my family, I have a clear road map to get there."
About the Werklund Foundation
Founded in 2006, the mission of the Werklund Foundation is to make a
difference in the lives of youth by supporting educational
opportunities that will assist them in achieving their highest
potential. The goals include: providing students and educators with
world-class training; conducting research to continuously improve and
develop leadership resources; and ultimately to empower students with
the confidence, resilience and motivation necessary to realize their
potential. This is achieved through meaningful and sustainable
partnerships with educational institutions, other foundations, and
About Werklund Foundation's Empowering Minds™
Driven by the belief that every person is born with the ability to lead,
the Werklund Foundation launched Empowering Minds™ leadership programs
in several high schools. The ongoing response to the program
highlighted the simple truth - that Empowering Minds™ training was
penetrating the core of many social issues, giving students the
confidence to lead and better preparing them to combat today's most
difficult developmental issues, including bullying and peer pressure.
To date, the Werklund Foundation's Empowering Minds programs have run
50 Teen Leadership Breakthrough courses, which have provided over 2,000
students with world-class leadership program experiences.
Please visit www.werklundfoundation.org for more information.
SOURCE Werklund Foundation
For further information:
Nicole Grant, North Strategic