2019 Leadership Porterville class

From left: Audra Wilson, Ashley Land, Melinda Rios, Ashley Sizemore, Staci Phipps and Joshua Estes at the Leadership Porterville graduation on June 13.

Leadership Porterville held a graduation ceremony for its 2019 class on June 13, concluding a nine month program that holds themed day sessions and one evening session throughout each month that focus on organizations in all different aspects of the community such as health, agriculture, and government.

Fire Chief Dave LaPere was the honorary guest speaker, and Irene Ortega, Leadership Porterville board member and Communications and Community Outreach Officer for Burton School District, said they had great representation from the community.

"We would like to recognize our Class of 2019 graduates as well as the organizations in our community that support Leadership Porterville,” said Ortega. “The Class of 2019 came together and organized over 250 care kits for families and individuals in need."

This year's graduates include Audra Wilson, Ashley Land, Melinda Rios, Ashley Sizemore, Staci Phipps and Joshua Estes.

Ortega said Leadership Porterville has been in existence over 28 years. Local businesses, the City of Porterville, school districts, and the public nominate up and coming leaders to take part in Leadership Porterville classes.

“Non-profits come and speak,” said Ortega. “We do personality exercises and learn how we can work together as a group.”

The classes give the Leadership Porterville students the opportunity to learn more in depth knowledge about the community, like how the Tule River Tribe is connected through the community, or how health care providers and the services they provide are integrated into Porterville.

Ortega says each class is tasked with creating a project that will benefit the community.

The Leadership Porterville Class of 2019 surpassed their goal for their project, organizing over 250 care kits and family care kits for individuals or families in need. They were also able to donate additional items like baby blankets to the Family Crisis Center.

The care kits included grooming kits, lotion, a notepad and pen, deodorant, toothbrush, night gowns, baby blankets, diapers, socks, brush, comb, sanitizer, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, conditioner, wipes, floss.

The application process for Leadership Porterville is open to those who are committed to community service and value making a difference in the community. This program offers a valuable yet challenging journey to those eager to step foot into a leadership role.

“This is a good way to get to know the community better,” Ortega said.

To learn more about the Leadership Porterville program and their application process, visit their website at www.leadershipporterville.org.

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