Young Leaders in Action

Macon County high school students are encouraged to get involved and make a difference in our community through The Community Foundation.

Young Leaders In Action (YLIA) is a youth-led initiative of The Community Foundation of Macon County and Rotary Club #180 of Decatur.

Through monthly meetings and volunteer opportunities, YLIA/Interact members will enhance their leadership, communication, social, and analytical skills. Members are familiarized with nonprofits and build an understanding of philanthropy through the grantmaking process.

Dr. Jarmese Sherrod named YLIA program facilitator

The Community Foundation of Macon County is pleased to announce Dr. Jarmese Sherrod is the new program facilitator for Young Leaders in Action (YLIA), a locally grown youth leadership program launched by The Community Foundation and Decatur Rotary Club No. 180. Launched in 2019, YLIA brings together a total of 110 students representing all 11 Macon County High Schools, with each student bringing a wide breadth of experiences, backgrounds and potential to the program.

“An impactful leader, Dr. Sherrod has been recognized with local, national and global distinction for her passionate efforts to empower youth,” said Natalie Beck, President of The Community Foundation of Macon County. “We look forward to having her expertise at the helm of this important leadership development program.”

Dr. Sherrod has more than 20 years experience in teaching, mentoring and empowering young people. A professor at Richland Community College, she teaches English and Media. Dr. Sherrod is also CEO and founder of Sherrod’s Independent Mentoring Program (SIMP), an organization focused on academic advising, mentoring and youth development.

“My vision for the leaders who join Young Leaders In Action is simple ... to help students discover their purpose, awaken their passion and to inspire them to lead with a heart of service,” said Dr. Sherrod.

Dr. Sherrod has facilitated leadership training for the Leadership Training Institute for the Central Region of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and the Above and Beyond Leadership Team at Richland Community College, which helped the college earn a National Gold Award for Excellence. Prior to joining RCC, Dr. Sherrod served as a military contractor and education advisor with the U.S. Army in Germany. Since 2019, Dr. Sherrod has been a consultant for Decatur Public Schools and The Macon County Regional Office of Education, providing student enrichment support.

Dr. Sherrod earned her undergraduate degree in radio and television from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and her master’s degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. She then attended the University of Illinois at Chicago to complete her doctorate in education curriculum and instruction with a specialization in curriculum design.

How to Join

2020-2021 YLIA Returning Member Application

2020-2021 YLIA New Member Application

YLIA is open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors within Macon County, Illinois. Contact Natalie Beck at The Community Foundation of Macon County at 429-3000 or for more information.

Member Expectations

  • Check email at least once per week for YLIA announcements and respond when required.
  • Be a responsible steward of money allocated for our community.
  • Form opinions objectively and without bias so decisions made reflect the community’s best interest.
  • Commit to creating an inclusive environment for all members.
  • Be excited to work with other high school students across Macon County.
  • Serve as a positive representative of YLIA to The Community Foundation, fellow YLIA members, and community members.

Meeting and Event Expectations

  • Attend at least seven of the nine scheduled meetings from September to May.
  • Dedicate at least two to four hours per month to YLIA meetings and activities.
  • Give notice to the President of YLIA or The Community if you will absent from a meeting or event.
  • Attend one or more volunteer outreach opportunities.
  • Attend at least one site visit to a potential grantee organization.
  • Keep meeting discussions confidential and not take decisions and discussions personally.

Scholarship Opportunity

High school seniors who are active members with YLIA have the opportunity to apply for the Wiesemann Family $2,500 Scholarship, exclusive to YLIA members.

2019-2020 Participants

Congratulations to these 50 students selected through an application process. We are excited to welcome them to YLIA this year!

  • Argenta-Oreana High School
    • Sarah Anderson, Morgan Bohm, Nathan Dahl, Allison Edwards, Kyra Segebart
  • Decatur Christian School
    • Caitlinn Deverell, Joshua House, Alexis Shew, Destiny Tevis, Irina Yeakley
  • Eisenhower High School
    • Londarius Hayes, Samantha McVey, Hope Moore
  • Lutheran School Association
    • Jarrett Albert
  • MacArthur High School
    • Jayden Elliott, Avery Newsome
  • Maroa-Forsyth High School
    • Rabya Hasnain, Lindy Kuhn, Sara Regan, Cameron Reynolds, Allie Schelling, Mavis Wang
  • Meridian High School
    • Lucas Clapp, Drew Hurelbrink, Katelyn Lowry, Alexandra Martin, Madison Sapp, Haylee Wilson
  • Mt. Zion High School
    • Patrick Brandon, Evelyn Comerford, Caroline Flora, Christopher Liu, Jacob Roubein, Grace Roundcount
  • Sangamon Valley High School
    • Paige Coss, Mikayla Jackson, Vanessa Templeton
  • St. Teresa High School
    • Madeline Allison, Grace Buxton, Erika Flickinger, Jack Kramer, Addison Newbon, Grace Pugh
  • Warrensburg-Latham High School
    • Brandon Dickey, Jaycie Edwards, Kathryn Frankovich, Zach Jalley, Benjamin Pasquariello, Sydney Pennypacker