Following a competitive process that included 1,000+ registered applicants, Lead For Minnesota (LFMN) has announced the selection and placements of its 2020 Inaugural Cohort of Fellows: 23 dynamic recent graduates supporting 14 cities and towns across Minnesota.
Alejandra Bejarano from Bogotá, Colombia, and Monali Bhakta of Shakopee, Minnesota were selected to serve the Region Nine Development Commission supporting the creation of Welcoming Communities within the South Central Region.
Garrett Lieffring from Truman, Minnesota will be alongside the GreenSeam, LLC staff, serving as a program manager focused on the economic resiliency of the region.
Lead For Minnesota’s Fellowship program recruits and trains outstanding young leaders to return to their hometown or home state to address critical community challenges through placements in local government and nonprofits. Fellows are tasked with full-time work on a key public challenge, and also work to recruit other young people to the region over their two-year term. Lead For Minnesota is an AmeriCorps Program that allows eligible Fellows to serve as AmeriCorps Members within their placement.
“Despite the challenges of launching an inaugural program amidst COVID-19, our host communities and their Fellows kept their focus and energy on tackling challenges that have only grown because of COVID-19,” says Benya Kraus, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Lead For Minnesota, and Waseca Homecomer herself. “I’m so excited for this diverse, passionate, and dynamic group of Fellows to serve and learn alongside their local visionaries and each other. Together, they prove that returning home with purpose can be a cause for celebration.”
This year’s fellows are committing themselves to public service during an unprecedented time in American history. An ongoing global pandemic, persistent systemic racism, a start to the school year, and a massive economic downturn are just a few of the many challenges that have stretched our civic institutions to their capacity and beyond.