Partnership gives NC students hands-on lessons in community leadership

Seven Niagara College students from a variety of programs will get a hands-on lesson in community leadership this term thanks to a unique partnership between the College and Leadership Niagara.

The pilot project will see students – all of whom are enrolled in NC’s unique Leadership Exploration and Development (LEAD) program -paired with Leadership Niagara teams working on a series of community projects. Leadership Niagara is a local program that develops community leaders through participation in projects with non-profit organizations in Niagara.

The goal of the pilot project which is funded through the Ontario government’s Productivity and Innovation Fund is to provide experiential leadership opportunities for students from different academic areas by blending skills knowledge and competencies developed in the classroom with real-world experience in the community.

“Niagara College believes very strongly in the value of leadership and the importance of providing opportunities for our students to develop skills and qualities that will make them leaders in our community” said Sean Kennedy Niagara College vice president of student and external relations. “Our partnership with Leadership Niagara will give our students the chance to work side by side with emerging leaders from all of Niagara’s key sectors. It’s a great example of a learning opportunity that combines the skills and knowledge developed in the classroom with real-world lessons in leadership and giving back to one’s community.”

For Leadership Niagara it’s an opportunity to further its vision and mission of Inspired Leaders Strong Community by incorporating students into its program.

“This partnership with Niagara College is another expression of how Leadership Niagara is committed to growing our program to create as many inspired leaders as we can to ensure we help to build strong communities in Niagara” said Mario De Divitiis executive director of Leadership Niagara. “If Niagara is to reach its full potential new leaders of all ages need to have an understanding of the issues facing our community and they need to be identified nurtured developed and engaged.”

The students will work on the following projects:

• Nimisha Sumathi of St. Catharines a second-year student in NC’s Bachelor of Applied Business – International Commerce and Global Development program will work on a fundraising program to attract first-time attendees to the Niagara Symphony Orchestra;

• Allison Cormier of Welland a third-year student in NC’s Practical Nursing program will work on a project to plan and execute a fundraising gala for the Adult Literacy Council of Fort Erie;

• Brittany Lightheart of Fort Erie a second-year student in NC’s Bachelor of Applied Business – International Commerce and Global Development program will work on a project to develop communications tools for Community Cares St. Catharines and Thorold;

• Stefanie Obee of Thorold a fourth-year student in NC’s Bachelor of Applied Business – International Commerce and Global Development program will work on a study for Women’s Place of South Niagara;

• Warren O’Brien of Burlington a first-year student in NC’s Photonics Engineering Technology is working on a project with the Welland/Pelham Chamber of Commerce to increase pedestrian traffic in downtown Pelham;

• Adeholla Eritobar of Delta State Nigeria a student in NC’s Environmental Management and Assessment (Graduate Certificate) program is working on the development of a work plan for Crime Stoppers of Niagara;

• Shannon Wassenaar of Wellandport a second-year student in NC’s Recreation Therapy program is working on a project to plan and execute a gala for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB).

“Working with Leadership Niagara in an invaluable opportunity and it has introduced me to a great group of people that I can learn and grow from” said Sumathi. “It’s also an opportunity to utilize the skills I have developed in my program. I’m very interested in a career related to marketing so this is the perfect opportunity for me.”
“Through this project I hope to enhance my marketing and communications skills” added Lightheart. “This opportunity will provide me with a better understanding of the business world and help me build a career in my chosen field.”

Niagara College’s LEAD program from which the seven students were selected is a co-curricular program designed to provide students with the opportunity to explore and develop leadership skills in four key areas: individual growth; group development; community values and professional application. The program is offered through NC’s Centre for Student Engagement and Leadership.

Now in its seventh year Leadership Niagara has developed 37 non-profit community projects and has graduated 185 community leaders including 12 Niagara College staff. The program has had the highest enrolment among community leadership programs in Canada over the last two years. For more information visit Videos of previous projects can be viewed at

Niagara College offers more than 111 diploma bachelor degree and advanced level programs at campuses in Welland Niagara-on-the-Lake and Niagara Falls; as well as more than 600 credit vocational and general interest Part-Time Studies courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences advanced technology media applied health and community safety supported by unique learning enterprises in food wine beer horticulture and esthetics. For more information visit


Media inquiries please contact:

Michael Wales
Senior Communications Officer
Niagara College
111 111-1111 ext. 7773
111 328-4101 (cell)
[email protected]

Mario De Devitiis
Executive Director
Leadership Niagara
111-688-5550 ext. 5928
[email protected]