Ask any MCLP alum to name the most valuable things they got from participating in the program, and they will inevitably put the relationships they formed at the top of the list. Authentic relationships are at the core of the program.
To aid in building these relationships, the organization has implemented a structure called the Circle of Support. “MCLP’s circle of support is crafted with intentionality and love. This multifaceted model challenged me to be the best version of myself,” says Tiara Randle, a Class of 2018 graduate.
This circle incorporates how participants interact with each other, program alumni and volunteers, and community members.
“The ‘Circle of Support’ reflects but one facet of the resources to which each participant is guided. While no single class member will partake in the same support structures, MCLP encourages recognizing the ‘Circle’ as vital,” reflects Justin Vickers, Class of 2017 graduate and facilitator for the Class of 2018. “The ‘buddy pairing’ was, for me, the most significant relationship I developed in my MCLP experience.”
Included in the Circle of Support are the Multicultural Leadership Institute staff, volunteers, MCLP facilitators, fellow participants and project team members, their employers and supervisors, the MCLP alumni network, nonprofit project sponsor and liaison, project advisor, mentor and buddy, and the board of directors and advisory council.
Volunteer mentor Sonja Reece says, “I found a great friend through MCLP, who I likely would never have met otherwise. Such a delight to share our lives!”
Often the relationships formed during one’s time in MCLP continue well after the program ends. That certainly was the case for Alexis Wolstein, class of 2018. “MCLP provided an opportunity to strengthen and refine my communication skills, and in turn, strengthen and refine my relationships with friends, family, and colleagues. I also developed new relationships with the folks I met through MCLP, including some people I now hold among my closest friends.”
Though relationships are only a part of the MCLP experience, it is hard to underestimate their importance to everyone involved. Kym Ammons Scott agrees. She adds, “MCLP’s Circle of Support provided lifelong friendships between myself, my project team, and members of my class. We will always be connected by the program and the ways in which our lives have been forever intertwined.”
Story by Raegan Rinchiuso ’18