By BOB COUPLAND
WARREN - Being a good leader was one of the criteria for recognition at the annual Inspiring Minds summer camp which recently concluded its second year of offering an eight-week recreational and educational program to children.
The awards recognition was held at Harding High School with Mayor Doug Franklin among those making the presentations.
Deryck Toles, founder and executive director of Inspiring Minds, said the finale not only included the awards presentation but donations by the students of canned goods and non-perishable items to Second Harvest Food Bank as part of a community service project.
Michael Iberis, director of the food bank, said the donation helps make a difference to those in need.
"The project is designed to show students that no matter how big or small a donation is made, it is always important to give back what you can. They saw that giving can go a long way," said Jessica Winters, client specialist for the program.
She said during the eight weeks the children collected canned goods and learned about community service.
As a community outreach organization, Inspiring Minds sees the importance of giving back. Students and staff get involved in local projects, events, camps and fundraisers in an effort to build a stronger community
Toles said the leadership awards are given to children who meet criteria such as following directions, being good leaders, having good attendance, not being reprimanded and showing teamwork.
"These students went above and beyond at the camp," he said, noting they receive a free pair of shoes from the mall.
More than 130 students took part in the program which offered educational assistance in various subjects in addition to sports, swimming, field trips, yoga and urban agriculture and gardening.
There also was a talent show with students showcasing what they learned during the eight weeks. Instruction was provided by professors from Kent State at Trumbull Campus.