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    Thousand Oaks Youth Leadership Academy begins in June

    NEWBURY PARK—The Thousand Oaks Youth Leadership Academy (TOYLA) for middle and high school students in June—teaches leadership skills; looks at the traits of America’s founders; requires attendance at a public meeting (City Council or School Board); features a tour of Thousand Oaks City Hall led by Mayor Rob McCoy; and asks students to perform four hours of community service during the month.   Sponsor of the TOYLA is History Makers International—a Thousand Oaks community non-profit.

    The venue for the Thursday evenings (June 6, 13, 20, 27) Thousand Oaks Youth Leadership Academy is Godspeak Calvary at The Village in Dos Vientos (320 Via Las Brisas, Newbury Park, CA 91320) with a weekly barbeque beginning at 6 p.m. (food is available for a donation of five dollars).

    Youth begin the Academy at 6:30 p.m. in small groups (parents are welcomed) with a free adult lecture featuring Mayor Rob McCoy speaking on the “American Legacy” beginning at 7 p.m. followed by a half-hour Q&A at 8 p.m.

    The TOYLA themes for the four Thursday  night sessions are as follows:

    • June 6: History Making—Intro to Leadership
    • June 13: Leadership—Freedom, True Liberty, Morality and Character
    • June 20: Leadership—The Birth of a Nation
    • June 27: Servant Leadership—Past, Present, Future

    Students who would like answers to the following questions should attend:

    1. If you are George Washington and just been named President; how would you lead?
    2. How would you define leadership?
    3. Can you name the leadership traits you have now?

    The Thousand Oaks Youth Leadership Academy has been under development by the History Makers International board for the past year with the curriculum written by a former home school parent, Advanced Placement History teacher at a Christian school, and an English/History teacher at a Los Angeles Unified public school.  Participants will receive a notebook binder with curriculum and Volume One and Two of “American Legacy.”  Graduates of the Thousand Oaks Youth Leadership Academy will also receive a certificate of completion from the City of Thousand Oaks signed by Mayor Rob McCoy.

    TOYLA participants may submit an essay by June 20 on the topic:  “How can I become a History Maker leader at home, school, or my community and uphold the American Legacy?”  Entrants for the History Makers Leadership Essay contest will write either a 250-750 words essay (middle school entrants) or a 500-1,500 word essay (high school entrants) based on their leadership curriculum, personal and/or community service experience, observations made at a community public meeting and/or interview of a community leader sharing their experience “In The Public Square.”  

    All essay entries must be submitted by June 20, 2019.  Required information includes:  1) Student name 2) Student grade and school 3) Student address, email, and phone number.   Completed entries can be submitted at the Thousand Oaks Leadership Academy class or by email to:  [email protected].

    Judging Criteria:

    • How well does the essay define leadership and express leadership traits?
    • How well is the leadership of a historical or community figure expressed?
    • How well is the essay organized to express what the entrant wants to say?
    • How effective is the essay in expressing the entrant’s point of view?

    Registration for the Thousand Oaks Youth Leadership Academy costs $30 or $25 for each registrant (if more than one registration per family).  A check can be made payable to:  History Makers International.  For more information contact:  Mike Hernandez, History Makers President & CEO at (818) 263-9881.

    Those wishing to assist with a Youth Leadership Academy scholarship can purchase the “American Legacy” volume one and two booklets for $30 (highlighting a 20-week lecture series given by Mayor Rob McCoy) and receive a $20 donation receipt which will become a scholarship discount for a Youth Leadership Academy participant.

    A few of the themes in the “American Legacy” booklets include:  “The governed must participate,” “Consent gives rise to representation,” “The decline of freedom of speech,” and “Culture driven by sex…sexual liberation, political control.”

    For more information on sponsorship please contact [email protected].


    Michael Hernandez, Co-Founder of the Citizens Journal—Ventura County’s online news service, founder of History Makers International—a community nonprofit serving youth and families in Ventura County, is a former Southern California daily newspaper journalist and religion and news editor.  He has worked 24 years as a middle school teacher.   Mr. Hernandez can be contacted by email at [email protected].

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