Lead ACT, a new professional leadership and development program created by Richard Stockton College and the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, inducted 25 fellows Thursday night.
Lead Atlantic City Tomorrow is a revival of a similar program, called Atlantic City Tomorrow, which existed in the 1990s.
Numerous elected officials and notable community members attended the induction ceremony, which was held in the All Wars Memorial Building.
Fellows were required to be Atlantic City residents.
Inducted fellows will meet monthly for the training program, beginning on Oct. 17 and ending in June of 2013. The program aims to prepare fellows to be leaders in the community.
“We’re going to do team-building,” said Alex Marino, who runs the program for Stockton. “We’re going to have them do an assessment of their leadership skills. We’re going to a panel of the history of Atlantic City: Ralph Hunter, Nelson Johnson, Richlyn Goddard, and Boo Pergament. It’s an intense program.”
Marino said that the program will draw strength from the diversity of the selected fellows.
“We have a diverse group of individuals: black, white, old, young, some with college degrees and master’s, some without,” he said. “We have people from the hospitality industry. We have educators. We have a retired corrections officer. Democrats. Republicans. Atlantic City is diverse.”
Fellow Lee Temple coaches baseball, helps at Narcotics Anonymous and volunteers at the Atlantic City Rescue Mission. He said he expects the program will make him a more effective leader.
“It’s a great opportunity, being born and raised here. I know the streets,” he said. “I’m 45 years old. I’ve seen a change; I’ve seen it get worse with the shootings and the murders. To me, it’s a big thing because my brother got killed on these streets.”
Temple’s brother, Bebe Temple, was shot to death in 2007.
“For me to be able to do this, and to give back, it needs to be done for my heart, and help a little healing. I can do this for him,” Temple said. “It’s a shame what we’re doing to each other. These guys need guidance. Hopefully I can be one to step in, and guide these young men. I need some more guidance myself to learn how to do these things, and how to be a mentor.”
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