- What is the Bonner Leaders Program?
- What is its mission?
- Who are the Bonner Leaders?
- Where do the Bonner Leaders work?
- What are the financial benefits?
- What are other benefits?
- How do I apply for the Bonner Leaders Program?
Founded in the early 1990s, The Bonner Foundation, in partnership with roughly 80 colleges and universities nationwide, is the sponsor of the Bonner Leaders Program. This program engages students in outreach to strengthen their communities, to build mutually beneficial relationships between campuses and community partners and to clarify and develop personal, vocational and professional strengths for learning and leadership. The program traces its roots and finds its home within the field of experiential education, believing in the inherent connection between learning and doing. The 2009-2010 academic year marked the beginning of the Bonner Leaders Program on the Young Harris College campus. For more information about the Bonner Foundation, please visit www.bonner.org.
The mission of the Bonner Leaders Program is to transform the lives of students and members, the life of their campus, their local community and the world through community engagement and leadership. The Bonner Program is designed to heighten the overall education students and members receive by asking them to engage in ongoing work in their community and helping them develop the experience, skills, knowledge and values necessary to make that work meaningful and lasting.
Bonner Leaders are a select group of students who represent Young Harris College through outreach work, through building relationships and through shared experiences in learning and leadership at non-profit agencies throughout the community. Bonners work at their community partner sites approximately eight to 10 hours per week during the academic year and have the option of choosing a site at which to work during the summer months as well.
In addition, Bonners meet together regularly with their peers, with campus staff and faculty and with community leaders to help deepen their understanding of themselves as individuals, as Young Harris students and as citizens of the larger community beyond. Students also attend regional and national Bonner conferences throughout the year, as well as partner with Bonner programs at other institutions.
During the school year, community partner sites vary and are arranged based on interests and schedules. This year, they include the following community partner agencies:
- The Hinton Center for Rural Life
- Hiawassee River Watershed Coalition
- S.A.F.E. Shelter
- Mountain Shelter Humane Society
- Ninth District Opportunities
- Towns County Family Connection
- Regency Hospice Second Wind Dreams
- City of Young Harris/Young Harris College Sustainability Partnership
- Alternative Education Program, Union County School System
Additional community partner sites will continue to be added each year.
Bonner Leaders make a significant commitment of their time and energy and receive financial assistance for that commitment. Through a combination of College and federal work study funds, Bonners earn up to $2,400 (300 hours x $8 an hour) per academic year. Also, Bonners are also eligible to receive an annual educational award of $1,132 from the AmeriCorps Program that can be used to pay back current or future federally qualified college loans and certain educational expenses. Together, these funds total over $14,000 throughout a four-year period. In addition, Bonners also have the option of working at non-profit agencies or internships over the summer months that offer stipends as well.
- A chance to claim your passion and use it to make a difference on your campus and in your community.
- A chance to learn about yourself while learning about the world around you.
- A chance to apply what you encounter in the classroom.
- A chance to enter into relationships with others who may be different from you.
- A chance to step outside your comfort zone.
- A chance to grow as a person, as a student and as a citizen.
- A chance to have a lot of fun in the process.
Although the positions for the 2012-2013 academic year have already been filled, applications for positions that will begin in fall 2013 will be taken during the beginning of the 2013 spring semester. Applicants will be invited to campus for an interview, a chance to get to know the current Bonner Leaders and to learn more about the program. For additional information or to obtain an application packet, please e-mail Dr. Joseph Pate, Director of the Bonner Leaders Program, call (706) 379-5104 or stop by the Bonner office located in the Center for Appalachian Studies and Community Engagement on Highway 76 just east of the stoplight in front of the main entrance to the campus.