Staff dive into community work with leadership challenge


Wendy Laslo, left, and Charlotte Sheridan

Two Brock representatives spent the last year participating in community initiatives to help children and youth as part of Leadership Niagara.

Wendy Laslo, Community and Ancillary Services, and Charlotte Sheridan, associate director, Faculty of Graduate Studies, were among Leadership Niagara’s class of 2009.

Brock University is one of several sponsors of the program that brings together a cross-section of individuals from the public, private and voluntary sectors to combine their leadership skills with community development.

Sheridan and Laslo were among a group of 20 people who took part in this leadership learning experience for one year. It involves monthly group meetings to share knowledge and ideas as part of leadership development. The participants combine this interaction with their personal time and talents to address issues and challenges facing Niagara through team projects in the community.

Sheridan worked with a team to collect used school supplies and distribute them to students in need. Laslo was involved in a project to integrate locally grown produce into breakfast and snack programs underway at Niagara schools.

“At the start of the program year we were provided with information and input from a variety of community leaders about Niagara’s needs,” said Laslo. “Our group chose to focus on child nutrition and its impact on education. We were surprised at the number of children attending school without adequate food and proper nutrition. Our goal was to implement local produce into existing breakfast and snack programs, starting with three pilot schools.”

“Overall this experience was an eye-opener for me as to the daily needs that people face across Niagara,” said Sheridan. “It doesn’t
take too much to help make a difference — it’s a matter of bringing people together, identifying how you can work together to help and then making it happen.”

Brock is one of many high profile organizations and companies to support Leadership Niagara since its inception several years ago.

“This is a very innovative and evolving program,” said Dianne Bolton, Leadership Niagara administrator, who works out of an office at the Brock campus. “The idea behind it is to develop future community leaders throughout Niagara.”

Each year, organizations and businesses are invited to nominate people to participate in the program. For more information, visit

Past Brock participants include Margaret Sanderson, University Accessibility co-ordinator; Kristen Smith, Community Services co-ordinator; Luaine Hathaway, executive assistant, Office of the President; and Stephanie Sugamori, co-ordinator, Business Career Development Office.

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