EPIC Leadership Center completes summer program

Claudia Wilson leading the canvas mark-making project.

EPIC Leadership Center, a non-profit organization in Ventura, completed its Summer Program in Westview Village, Ventura. Activities led by EPIC staff and supported by local volunteers were held on Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons at the Westview Village Community Center. The activities included art, sports, character and leadership training, and games with 8-30 kids in attendance. Fridays were typically dedicated to local field trips including two trips to Santa Cruz Island sponsored by Channel Islands National Park Foundation, and a trip to the local Ventura Botanical Garden. Each field trip included volunteer guides that made the experience educational and entertaining. The kids were always engaged, filled with questions, excitement and curiosity. Over the eight weeks, activities and projects emphasized character and leadership traits that included integrity, self-awareness, fairness and teamwork.

The summer program started off with character training focused on EPIC’s mission using the Golden Rule, “Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them,” a guide to create “everyday leadership” regardless of age, education or ethnicity. The “Golden Rule” was coupled with an art activity led by Ms. Claudia Wilson (Ms. Claudia). “Ms. Claudia” likes to expose the kids to as many different materials and concepts of mark-making as possible. In this project, Ms. Claudia started out the activity with canvases that were already used rather than a large white canvas that can be intimidating and stressful for kids to come up with something meaningful. Starting with a used canvas sets that aspect aside and the kids are free to experiment and create. By having everyone paint on the same canvas no one must take responsibility for the outcome. The outcome while interesting and tangible, is not as important as the process of creating, sharing, interacting, being considerate, and treating each other the way you want to be treated especially when there is someone right next to you.

The summer program was developed and led by Kate Simonson, Program Director and Falisha Lopez, Assistant Program Director, both residents at the Westview Village Community. Kate, a 10-year resident, is a recognized leader in the Westview Village community using her skills to identify and oversee initiatives that align with EPIC’s mission, to develop leaders and transform lives. Falisha, a 3-year resident, partners with Kate to identify and execute the activities that benefit and support the Westview community and families. Falisha’s superpowers of nurturing and empathy partner well with Kate to create dynamic and successful EPIC leaders right there at Westview.

EPIC is planning its fall program! Come, be a part of transforming lives and neighborhoods right here in Ventura, CA. Please visit Epicleadershipcenter.org for more information, volunteer opportunities, and to donate.

Editor: Westview Village is the first public housing property to be constructed in the City of Ventura.

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