Future Leaders of Irving
Future Leaders of Irving (FLI) is a program for high school seniors with the mission “... to identify, educate, and develop our local youth to become future business and civic leaders,by exposing them to the elements and operations of local government, nonprofit and businesses through introductions by appropriate role models.”
The vision of FLI is to create future leaders who will have greater awareness of, participation in, and contribution to the local community. FLI is timed to introduce seniors to these areas as they evaluate their college and career options.
As a result of participating in the program, students have consistently broadened their views of the opportunities available to them. After each session students have reported an improvement in self-confidence, writing skills, public speaking, decision making, problem solving, leadership skills and personal growth as well as an expanded view of their educational and career options.
The program was designed and implemented by the United States-Mexico Cultural and Educational Foundation (USMCEF), a sister organization of the United States-Mexico Chamber of Commerce (USMCOC), in partnership with the City of Irving, Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce, Irving Independent School District, Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District, Irving YMCA and La Buena Youth Leadership Foundation. In addition to the FLI partners, FLI is supported and funded by Verizon, Irving-Las Colinas Rotary, La Cima Club, ant the Four Seasons Resort and Spa.
Participants and structure
Each school year, qualified young adults are chosen from the six area public high schools (MacArthur, Irving, Nimitz, Singley Academy, Barbara Cardwell and Ranchview High School) and local private and charter schools. The students are selected by school counselors and, although not typically at the top of their class, they are good students with recognized leadership potential. The number of participants has grown from 20 in the pilot in spring 2010 to 40 in the 2011-12 session.
Currently, classes meet for a full day six times per year and the curricula includes a combination of team building exercises, academic projects as well as onsite visits to local organizations, companies and governmental agencies that introduce them to environments few would have had the opportunity to experience. Program administrators coordinate schedules with the respective schools to ensure that meeting dates do not conflict with school tests or other important dates, and that teachers are made aware of the reason for their students’ absences.
The ethnic composition of the FLI groups reflects the diverse Irving student population.
FLI has demonstrated efficacy beginning with the pilot. At the beginning of the inaugural session in spring 2010, only twenty percent of the students had plans set in place for postsecondary education. By the end of that session, the percentage of students with postsecondary education plans had jumped to sixty-five percent. Students’ aspirations for a college education have continued to grow each year.
In an evaluation at the end of the 2012-13 program, students were asked to rate the following. All responses were on a scale from one to five from “Strongly Disagree” to “Strongly Agree." Students were not only asked about their post-secondary aspirations but their views about themselves, government and the future.
- “I understand how the city of Irving is governed.” (4.18/5.00)
- “I understand what the role of the City Manager is.” Average score: 4.35/5.00)
- “I understand why it is crucial to plan now for our future needs for water and infrastructure through the next 50+ years.” (4.34/5.00)
- “FLI helped me learn more about being a leader.” (4.64/5.00)
- “Through FLI, I have more confidence in my daily life.” (4.60/5.00)
- “As a result of my participation in FLI I am better able to plan my future.” (4.50/5.00)
- “I would recommend FLI to other students.” (4.88/5.00)
- Comments: “FLI showed me more opportunities for my future as a college student.” “I am going to be a nurse at Baylor Hospital.” “So that in real life I know how I can be a leader for others.” “How and what I need to be a leader.”
ABOUT OUR PARTNERS
United States-Mexico Cultural and Educational Foundation (USMCEF)
The mission of the USMCEF, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is to provide activities that promote an enhanced knowledge and understanding of the educational and cultural differences between the two countries in order to establish closer and stronger ties. The Foundation oversees educational and cultural exchange programs designed to develop business leaders of the future, infuse practical business knowledge into the academic realm and foment understanding between the neighboring countries.
Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce
The mission of the GILCCC is to create economic activity for Irving, advance more than 1,663 business investors who represent 145,000 employees and promote all of our members including five Fortune 500 global headquarters and eleven U.S. Small Business of the Year award winners.
Irving Independent School District
Mission statement: We engage learners to become critical thinkers, leaders and contributors in a diverse and competitive world. Our Vision Statement is, ”Excellence and equity for all.”
City of Irving, Texas
Irving, Texas is a city with more than 220,000 residents, situated between Dallas and Fort Worth. Irving is home to more than 2,000 corporations and 400 corporate headquarters including being the global headquarters of five Fortune 500 companies. Irving students are served by four independent school districts; Irving Independent School District and Carrollton-Farmers Branch account for the great majority of Irving’s students.
The YMCA is the nation's leading nonprofit committed to strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. At the Y, strengthening community is our cause. Every day, we work side-by-side with our neighbors to make sure that everyone, regardless of age, income or background, has the opportunity to learn grow and thrive.
U.S.-Mexico Chamber of Commerce
The United States-Mexico Chamber of Commerce is the leading binational business organization working to build mutually beneficial trade and investment relationships in the Americas. The organization's mission is to promote business between the United States and Mexico.
La Buena Vida Youth Leadership Foundation
The mission of the La Buena Vida Youth Leadership Foundation is to improve the lives of underprivileged and youth in need through a variety of charitable programs including leadership development and higher education opportunities.
Irving Schools Foundation
The Irving Schools Foundation, Inc. was established in May 1985 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that seeks to maximize educational opportunities for teachers and students by funding projects and activities that are not within the budgetary guidelines of the Irving Independent School District and for which tax dollars may not be expended.