The Flagler Chamber of Commerce has graduated about 300 local leaders through Leadership Flagler since the class' beginnings in 1993.
The 25th graduation class of the Flagler Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Flagler have been focusing their efforts on helping Samaritan Ministries — a charitable organization based in Bunnell that provides a safe environment for women and teens who are going through hard times — for the class’ group project.
“This is a working organization that is changing lives, and it’s something that we can help them with — to help them do exactly what they’re good at,” Leadership Flagler graduate Robert Jolley said about Samaritan Ministries.
Since 1993, there have been about 300 graduates from the Leadership Flagler classes, Chamber Vice President Heather Edwards said. On Wednesday, May 9, the most recent class celebrated its graduation with a dinner and award presentation at the Grand Haven Golf Club.
Certificates were presented to the following graduates: Kathleen Bird, trustee member; Kiah Bonner, Hammock Beach Resort; Denise Duty, Florida Hospital Flagler; Marilyn Edwards, CareerSource Flagler Volusia; Andrew Ferris, O’Quinn Insurance Agency, Inc.; Jorge Gutierrez, president of the Flagler County Chamber of Commerce; Jennifer Harris, Market Street; Robert Jolly, Smart Financial Solutions, Inc.; Joe Mullins, The Mullins Companies; Toral Patel, Beverly Beach Camptown RV Resort; Mike Richards, Palm Coast and the Beaches Real Estate; and Jamie Strickland, Vystar Credit Union.
Over the three-month course, the students participated in hands-on experiences to better get to know Flagler County. The group went to Camp Winona YMCA for a team-bonding day, learned about emergency operations, had local government and county government days, went on a tour bus to see the county’s history, gained exposure to economic development efforts, participated in social services with Samaritan Ministries, got to know the agricultural roots of the area, appreciated arts and culture, witnessed the importance of tourism and studied criminal justice.
“This program seeks to deepen the understanding of this great community, its issues and opportunities, and encourages participants to take active roles as stewards of and advocates for positive change,” Edwards said.
Even though the class is complete, the graduates plan on continuing to assist at Samaritan Ministries.
“We didn’t want to just do something monetarily for them — although we’re doing that, and we’re going to do at least a $500 donation that we all together chipped in — but we also want to go over and help paint and do some stuff over there, some of the physical labor,” Mullins said.
To donate to the class’ project, visit http://www.samaritanministriesflagler.org.