Imagine Thomasville recently concluded the 2021 iLEAD 2021 Youth Leadership program in July. In partnership with TC Federal Bank and TiskTask, the program focused on the region's high-growth industries -- agriculture, advanced manufacturing, and healthcare. Students toured local business to understand challenges and pitched solutions in areas such as food system security, preventative healthcare and workforce skills gaps.
Sophomore, junior, and senior students from Thomasville High School, Brookwood School, Cairo High School, and a local homeschool group received a behind-the-scenes peek at Flowers Foods, Check-Mate Industries, Nutrien Ag Solutions, Second Harvest of South Georgia, Sweet Grass Dairy, the Vashti Center, and more.
John-Michael Allen, a Classical Conversations student, won the final pitch contest for his solution "Outreach to Opportunity," which enhances after-school offerings with work-ready programming like robotics and other STEM activities. Carson Hair of Cairo High School won second place and Dealjah Mills of THS Scholars Academy won Honorable Mention.
Mills' solution incorporated information she learned from the group's visit to Second Harvest of South Georgia. Before COVID, the organization purchased a refrigerated truck to allow area food banks and other community organizations to deliver fresh produce and other temperature-controlled items to communities in need. However, due to COVID, the truck has yet to be used.
Her solution "Produce on Wheels" proposed to have smaller food banks and non-profits "check out" the truck to deliver fresh produce to their clients.
"We learned that the challenge wasn't actually that they didn't have enough food, it was how to provide transportation and access to the food," Mills told a panel of judges during the final PitchFest.