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Two Richmond County students named Bank of America Student Leaders

(Featured photo – From left: Demargo Lewis, Community and Family Engagement Coordinator, Richmond County School System; Nanette Barnes, CTAE Director, Richmond County School System; Ora Parish, Market President Bank of America Greater Augusta/Aiken; Elleana Garcia, Bank of America Student Leader; Makari Stokes, BofA Student Leader; Marissa Smith, Market Executive Bank of America Greater Augusta/Aiken; Dr. Kenneth Bradshaw, Superintendent of Schools, Richmond County School System_

Two Richmond County Technical Career Magnet School students were named to Bank of America’s Student Leaders program.

Makari Stokes, the school’s salutatorian, and Elleana Garcia, an honors graduate, are part of an eight-week paid summer internship at the Golden Harvest Food Bank, providing them with first-hand experience in serving their communities, according to a news release from Bank of America.

“As part of the program, the students will develop leadership and practical workforce skills while working with local nonprofits, including Golden Harvest Food Bank, all while earning $17 per hour,” the news release said.

 With changing economic environments and a shifting job market, young people need access to workforce experience and career skills-building opportunities. The private sector has a role to play to help better position and support young adults to be successful in today’s workforce, the release continued.

Bank of America is also connecting 12 additional teens and young adults to paid jobs and internships across Greater Augusta/Aiken with Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce’s Students2Work program.

“By providing the pathways and resources for young adults to gain the foundational work skills and leadership experience they need to succeed, we are investing in our community’s long-term economic growth.” said Ora Parish, president, Bank of America Greater Augusta/Aiken, in the release. “The teens selected for this paid summer intern program are truly extraordinary but may not have had access to opportunities like this until now. The Student Leaders program is just one example of how we connect people to meaningful employment resources that also builds a stronger pipeline of diverse talent for our local workforce.”

Garcia plans to attend Georgia State University in the fall and major in journalism with a minor in political science. Stokes plans to attend Spelman College, majoring in biology/pre-med with a minor in business marketing.

Later this summer, Garcia and Stokes will travel to Washington D.C. for a week-long, all expenses paid, national leadership summit focused on the power of cross-sector collaboration and community advocacy.

This will be the first in-person summit since 2019.

There, the students from across the nation will discuss the importance of civic engagement and meet with members of Congress, the news release continued.

Started in 2004, the Student Leaders program recognizes 300 community-focused juniors and seniors from across the U.S. annually. The Augusta-based Student Leaders are participating in programming that includes a collaborative, mentor-focused project with Golden Harvest while also learning about how a food bank operates. Over the course of the summer, they will rotate between departments at the food bank, learning about community impact, marketing, human resources, fundraising, packing and sorting food, agency partnerships, Urban Farm and Master’s Table Soup Kitchen.

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