A UGA summer program is enhancing leadership skills and heightening awareness of Latino issues for a group of high school students.

The J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development hosted 15 students participating in the Leadership Sin Limites! program from July 16-20.

While staying in UGA residence halls, the students learned about their leadership styles, effective communication techniques, and team building.

They also toured campus facilities and learned about different aspects of the college admissions process such as the SAT and ACT tests, personal essays, and different majors and careers that are available to them.

“Leadership Sin Limites! provides these students with an opportunity to develop skills and strategies they can apply to best position themselves for their future as they transition into postsecondary education and leadership opportunities,” said Carolina Darbisi, a public service associate at the Fanning Institute who coordinates the program each year.

During the summer program, the students also learned about issues affecting the Latino community and planned a community service project that they implement during the fall.

“Organizing and completing a service project empowers the students to assume leadership roles in their community and help affect positive change they can see firsthand,” said Darbisi.

A number of the students who completed the summer program said it has changed their outlook on the future.

“It was life changing,” said Jocelyn Fierros. “It changed my mentality in school and how I viewed furthering my education.”

The same was true for Alexis Valadez.

“Leadership Sin Limites! has really inspired me to attend college,” he said.

Students also indicated they are looking forward to applying their enhanced leadership skills.

“I’m going to be more open and challenge myself more,” said Adriana Escorza. “I will try new clubs and be more active. I will also become a better leader in my community.”

Helping her community is also a priority for Vanessa Cortez, who said learning about Latino issues gives her knowledge that she can share with others.

“I am going to be able to provide answers to questions some people in my community may not know,” she said.

The students will present their community service projects at a graduation this winter.