Macon County Legacy members: DLI can help you grow as leaders

One of the benefits of membership in the Macon County Legacy group is the opportunity for nonprofit staff members to apply to attend DLI at no cost.

“It’s been an eye-opening experience,” says Shamika Madison, CEO and executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Decatur, as she speaks of her participation in the weekly Decatur Leadership Institute (DLI) in 2021.

Shamika Madison

Each fall since 1985, DLI has prepared current and emerging leaders for community leadership roles through onsite learning to gain an inside view of the industries and issues that shape the Decatur area. The group of about 20 individuals meets for 14 weekly sessions and also completes several team-based, service-learning projects.

Many local nonprofits lack the funding to pay the $650 fee to send a staff member through the DLI learning and networking experience. However, one of the benefits of membership in the Macon County Legacy group is the opportunity to apply for nonprofit staff members to attend DLI at no cost. Each year, two slots are funded for nonprofit staff members through The Community Foundation of Macon County. Shamika and Shemuel Sanders represented MCL in the 2021 DLI course.

"My experience with the DLI program has allowed me to learn more about my community and helped me grow as a leader,” she says. “DLI is the perfect program for any professional who strives to make a change in their community."

As DLI participants, Shamika and her cohorts were able to view the community through new eyes. For example, the group underwent the same instantaneous decision-making process needed by local law enforcement officials through training on a public safety straining simulator. She personally gained additional respect for law enforcement as a result – and for local firefighters, especially after slipping on their 75 pounds of gear. The group also studied the significance of the railroad as a hub for our area and observed the important role the Decatur Park District performs in our community. Each weekly session brought new insights, Shamika says.

“It’s been a great experience,” she says. “I’ve learned a lot, met people from all walks of life, and I’m hoping to build on what I’ve learned for the good of our community.”

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