About Us

Students Present to the School Board
What is JLD?

JLD is a nonprofit program designed to provide high school sophomores with in-depth knowledge of the Durham community, and to develop leadership skills recognizing that the youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow. Program goals include:

  • Developing leadership skills for youth in Durham
  • Increasing volunteerism among high school students
  • Promoting communication between students from different high schools in Durham
  • Increasing awareness of diverse community needs and resources
  • Exposing youth to various careers in Durham
  • Making the program available free of charge

What is JLD’s history?
Junior Leadership Durham began when 1999 Leadership Durham graduate Robin Odom decided that a program similar to Leadership Durham but targeting teens would be useful in developing youth leadership. When the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Durham Program adopted projects each year for its members to participate in, Robin pitched her idea for JLD to the 2001 Leadership Durham class and it was adopted as one of the projects. Graduates from subsequent Leadership Durham classes also took on major roles in developing the program. In 2003 JLD received status as a 501c3 nonprofit and the inagural JLD class began in September. The program continues to grow each year.

What do students get from the program?
Students who participate in the seven sessions of JLD will gain a fundamental understanding of the politics and workings of Durham, what the important issues are, and get to meet, ask questions of and interact with Durham’s leadership.  They will also have the opportunity to develop friendships across Durham with students in different high schools and from different socio-economic, ethnic and philosophical backgrounds.  Building diverse relationships and learning about others will enrich each individual and promote growth.  In order to receive the full benefit of the program students must prepare for sessions and actively participate.  Students are required to complete a community service project as part of this program. Each year students do volunteer work with different nonprofits such as the Food Bank of Central Eastern NC, Habitat for Humanity of Durham, Teen Court, and Urban Ministries of Durham.

What does the program cost?
It is free to participants.

How is JLD funded?
JLD seeks support for operations from corporate and community benefactors who recognize the importance of growing youth leaders.  The program costs approximately $10,000 per year.  To find out more about supporting JLD, click here to visit our support page.

JLD Board Members