Kansas Youth Leadership Academy receives $100,000 from McDonald's restaurants

The 154 McDonald’s restaurants in Kansas have come together to donate $100,000 over the next two years to the Kansas Youth Leadership Academy.

"This generous donation demonstrates a renewed commitment to an already successful partnership that began in 2005," Gov. Kathleen Sebelius said. "This public/private partnership makes it possible for young Kansans to learn about leadership and develop the tools necessary to become effective citizen leaders. McDonald's generosity serves as a model for other partnerships between businesses and educators in preparing tomorrow's leaders."

KYLA is based at Fort Hays State University's Center for Civic Leadership and conducts seminars and other educational activities at various sites throughout the state. KYLA was founded in 2003 with start-up funding from the Kansas Health Foundation and McDonald's. These new resources will allow programming for middle and high school students to continue and possibly expand.

"Our founder, Ray Kroc, instilled a commitment of giving back to the community when he opened his first McDonald's more than 50 years ago," said Lee Rentz, vice president and general manager, Heartland Region, McDonald's USA. "Today his philosophy carries on in our restaurants, especially when it comes to making a difference in the lives of children. Our Kansas owner/operators are extremely proud of their involvement with KYLA and are committed to helping support the development of future leaders in the state of Kansas."

McDonald's restaurants around the nation are continuously looking for ways to carry out the McDonald's philanthropy: to make a difference in the lives of children. Much like McDonald's, KYLA is constantly striving to make a difference in children's lives. Through specialized trainings for individual schools, region-wide seminars, summer camps and leadership conferences, KYLA encourages young Kansans to live safe and healthy lives with strong character, and to be active community members who serve as life-long citizen leaders.

KYLA's specialized training activities are designed for individual schools, school districts and other organizations. Working with 6th- through 12th-grade sponsors, a day of leadership training is tailored for students who can then return to their classrooms and teach their classmates.

Seminars introduce students to the concept of civic leadership. Seminars are presented yearly to middle school and high school students at different locations throughout the state. The spring 2008 seminar schedule includes: Lawrence on Jan. 22 and 23; Oakley on Jan. 29 and 31; and Salina on Feb. 6.

Summer camps for middle school and high school students are offered on the FHSU campus. Campers develop a deeper understanding of the many facets of leadership and leave knowing they can really make a difference in the world around them. The 2008 summer camps will be held June 4 through 6 for middle school, and June 17 through 20 for high school.

The Leadership on & off the field program is designed to provide Kansas high school athletes with comprehensive leadership training. The program is designed to help develop young people with strong character who practice positive leadership and serve as active citizens. The conference will be held at the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame on March 25 and 26, 2008.

The Hidden Heroes program is a collaborative effort joining community service organizations and KYLA to reach an identified population of young people who have yet to discover their leadership skills. Monthly meetings provide this population with a place to develop those skills and put them into action with a spring service project.
Since KYLA began, 233 schools have participated from across Kansas.

"We're honored that McDonald's believes in our program and is willing to support our mission," said Cathie Klein, director of KYLA. "And we are truly grateful for the generous gift. Public resources only go so far, and it is gifts like this that help in serving the youth of Kansas."

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