If a community’s strength is reflected in its leaders, then Turlock is a powerful community due in part to the mission of Leadership Turlock.
Since 1993, Leadership Turlock has aimed to cultivate and maintain a strong community by educating and exposing local leaders to the multifaceted nature of the town. Each year a group of 15 to 20 local individuals from diverse backgrounds and industries, including government, educations, and health care among others, are selected to serve as members of Leadership Turlock. Facilitated through the Chamber of Commerce, these members attend monthly seminars that include tours of local businesses and organizations with the aim of growing their understanding of the community, increasing their exposure to current trends and issues as well as enhancing their leadership and management skills.
“You get a behind the scenes course on how Turlock runs. You really start to comprehend how it all works,” said Cheryl Gerhardt, marketing director at Paramount Court Senior Living and current member of Leadership Turlock.
As part of the tours facilitated through Leadership Turlock, local community members gained access to local educational facilities including Modesto Junior College, California State University, Stanislaus and campuses within the Turlock Unified School District. Through these tours, the members were inspired to find a way to give back to the students, in particular the agriculture students at Turlock High School who are lacking in basic construction tools. The group decided that they could collectively provide these students a better educational experience by ensuring that they have the supplies they need to complete required school projects thus conceiving of the idea to host a tool drive for the THS agriculture students.
“They don’t have half of what they need and that’s one of the things we decided as a group we could to do to help. We want to try to get funds, or tool donations, or whatever we can to help,” said Gerhardt.
After touring some local nonprofit facilities, the Leadership Turlock group realized that they could do more than provide tools to high school students: they could foster a partnership between these students and local nonprofit Verda’s House. Verda’s House is the local Children’s Crisis Center that provides comprehensive shelter services for Stanislaus County children. The nonprofit is in need of outdoor furniture for the children and through donating materials to the THS agriculture students, these students will be able to complete a required class project by making furniture that can then be given to Verda’s House.
“THS students have to do projects as part of their class so we thought it would be perfect if we as a group could help take it a step further and instead of just doing a project, find a way for that project to be donated. We thought why we can’t help connect the difference agencies and organizations so it’s a win-win for everyone,” said Gerhardt.
By forging a connection between the local school and nonprofit, the 2014-2015 group of Turlock Leadership members are honoring their mission and leaving a legacy of good will.
The THS Tool Drive will take place on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 2881 Geer Road across from Raley’s. There will be a red awning to indicate the tool drop. For more information call 485-8516.