According to a press release issued by Pat Patterson, Program Coordinator for Indiana INTERNnet, LeFever is a great example of the invaluable influence an intern can have in an organization. LeFever worked with Leadership Whitley County (LWC) beginning her senior year of high school. For years, LWC has offered adults opportunities to become involved in Whitley County’s community to expand their professional network and enhance their leadership skills. From LWC came the initiative to design a youth leadership program, LeFever said. As LWC began to redevelop its youth leadership program, they needed new ideas to steer the program in the right direction.
As a high school student in Whitley County, LeFever provided the fresh perspective the Whitley County Youth Leadership program (WCYL) needed. She was the only youth intern in the State to serve on a county-wide adult leadership policy council. Her commitment to the program reflected her passion for leadership. In addition to high school studies, LeFever dedicated several hours a week researching program curriculum, obtaining financial support and promoting the program to local high schools. She became the voice of Whitley County’s youth, authoring WCYL’s mission statement and foundational values.
In addition, for personal experience in leadership development, LeFever participated in other county youth programs and sought counsel from community leaders and keynote speakers.
Whitley County Youth Leadership is designed to develop leadership skills in a select group of youth and instill in them an appreciation for people, places, history and opportunities available in Whitley County, LeFever said.
LeFever’s impact on her community impressed Terry McManama, program coordinator for interdisciplinary cooperative education/professional careers at Churubusco High School. He nominated her for the award.
“I would put Tiffany LeFever at the top of the list of students who have made a strong, positive contribution to their school and community,” he said.
LeFever didn’t even know she was nominated for the award until she received a phone call over Christmas Break saying she had won.
“The award is an exciting signpost in my life that assures me that what I’m doing can make a difference,” LeFever said.
LeFever is the daughter of Brian and Tana LeFever and currently attends Indiana Wesleyan University where she is double majoring in leadership and psychology. Her internship with LWC further solidified her aspiration to pursue a career path in leadership development.
“Because of my passion for people, my career goal is to use my degree to enter the life-coaching field. I hope to counsel and teach university students and enable them to discover their life purpose, equip them to make life decisions based on this purpose and then empower them to develop this purpose into world-changing leadership,” LeFever said. “I want to work in an educational setting where I can interact with all types of people and utilize my creativity and gift of effective communication.”
To all those students who will begin internships in the spring or summer, LeFever has some advice: “Get the most out of your internship by engaging in every resource available, meeting as many people as you can and learning something new from every task.”
In the fall of 2009, WCYL’s first class of 15 students began benefitting from LeFever’s hard work as they sat down for the first of several monthly meetings. LeFever’s contribution to the program continues; she was asked to be the keynote speaker at the students’ spring graduation ceremony. LeFever’s experience is a great example of how an internship is a win-win situation for an employer and student – she gained the leadership experience she desired and Leadership Whitley County gained the youthful perspective needed to revitalize its youth leadership program.