Make Your Mark on Madison works to inspire students through its semester-long leadership development program that’s geared toward first and second-year students. The group has more than 100 participants and they learn how to become engaged with the JMU community. Both the leadership council and student directors run the program.
Michael McCleve is the associate director for leadership for the Dux Center and new head of the MYMOM program. McCleve wants to continue the success of MYMOM and not break the tradition of what’s made it such a successful organization.
“We’ve got great students who help run this program,” McCleve said. “In fact, the program doesn’t run without the student staff leading and providing such a great experience for the students who are participating.”
He oversees the development of the program and teaches Human Resource Development 475, a seminar and leadership class with an emphasis on learning about college students’ development. He bases his teaching on the leadership counselors and the skills they need to effectively lead their small groups and discussions.
“The class helps the student leadership counselors learn the maturity of a college student coupled with leadership development,” McCleve said. “There is a developmental process that we need to attend to when focusing on the kind of topics we do in the program.”
Junior communications major Harry Hudome knew of people in the MYMOM program his first two years at JMU but never took the opportunity to join the organization. With his experience in other leadership organizations like Outriggers, he decided that it was time to see what being a leadership counselor for MYMOM was about.
“We are tasked with being the person on the ground with the participants during the program,” Hudome said. “I have a council of first year students, so we gear our council time toward their needs, help them get involved, find a place outside of their dorm where they can make friends and be comfortable to jumpstart their JMU experience.”
There are 10 pairs of LCs, making a total of 20. Each pair has a council of participants ranging in size from 9-13 depending on the group.
MYMOM meets once a week on Mondays, with dinner starting at 6:00 p.m., the presentation at 7:00 and council time from 8:00-9:15. Outside that time, leadership counselors plan with their partners and have one-on-one meetings with participants throughout the week.
“Make your Mark” is the mantra of the program — LCs want their student to find their passions during their time at JMU through their group interactions. Preparation for MYMOM starts in the spring semester when the new staff is selected and trained, while recruitment for participants begins in the fall.
Emily Howe, a senior communications and spanish double major, started as a participant and has worked her way up to her current leadership position as one of the two student directors. She helps implement the program and train the leadership counselors as one of the two student directors who oversee the program. She attends the MYMOM class on Fridays taught by McCleve.
“He teaches the theories — the academic side of what we are implementing in the program,” Howe said. “We have weekly meetings with him to make sure everything is running smoothly.”
She believes that the program is staying as strong as ever as students continue to see the benefits of surrounding themselves with like-minded students. Both Howe and Hudome advise students to see what MYMOM has to offer.
“I would encourage anyone who is even remotely interested to at least look for more information into the program next year either to be a leadership counselor or a participant,” Hudome said. “I think that it’s a program that takes the college experience and enriches it in a way that I think a lot of programs try to do, but so few actually accomplish.”
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