Lehigh Valley is a great place to live, work, raise a family, and … become a leader. You see, each year Leadership Lehigh Valley chooses a class of up and coming eager business men and woman to help transform our community. I happened to attend the graduation dinner and award’s ceremony for the Class of 2012 a couple of weeks ago at ArtsQuest's SteelStacks. The venue was the perfect location, the food was excellent and the service was the best I’ve had there to date. Jeffrey Parks, President of ArtsQuest, was the keynote speaker and with his background and leadership skills this was the perfect choice for a great graduation speech to this class.

It was amazing to see 21 very enthusiastic individuals try to conquer different community service projects. The class split into two and decided on how they thought they could help our region. Some of the previous classes have tackled the development of Canal Place – a recreational area now known as Sand Island, Buck Boyle Park Restoration Project, and an American Disabilities Act Implementation Project. Each group applies session principles, experience leadership challenges and learns to build a complete working unit in order to tackle their mission.

The first group chose to create three dog yards; Yards of Joy at The Sanctuary at Haafsville, a new no-kill animal rescue center in Fogelsville, Pa. They used recycled materials and river rock to complete an area that will allow the animals to run and play in safety.

The second group holds near and dear to our hearts here at Discover Lehigh Valley. They chose to implement a nonprofit central calendar project that will end scheduling conflicts of events in Lehigh Valley. They partnered with our organization to expand upon our existing calendar of events, whereby creating a special section to serve the nonprofit community. They managed to contact the local organizations and had recorded over 100 events being posted to the central calendar by their graduation date.

It was also nice to see past graduates attend the event. Their passion for the community will continue throughout their lives from what I could tell. Long live your dreams for a better community Class of 2012. Great job!

If you want to make a difference in our community, check out their website at www.LLV.org.