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Student Leadership Day for 7th & 8th Graders

Below is information about our 2024 7th-8th Grade Student Leadership Day!

This program has reached capacity. Nominations are closed. 

Our intensive Student Leadership Day programming engages students in 7th-8th grades with captivating, world-class Upstander speakers, interactive programs, and the opportunity to create an action plan to take back to their school. Student Leadership Day inspires the change-makers to build leadership skills, explore their roles as citizens, and develop a deeper understanding of the Holocaust, genocide, and other human rights issues. Students return to their communities with the tools and drive to promote acceptance and understanding.

We invite you to nominate up to ten of your 7th – 8th grade students to participate in this powerful day. The goal of Student Leadership Day is to increase awareness about the Holocaust, genocide, and human rights, and to help participants think about lessons we can learn from the past. Participating students will develop and carry out an action plan to address a social justice issue in their school, community, or the wider world. This year’s program will particularly highlight individuals and communities facing food insecurity. There is no cost for students to participate.

Dates & Times

Choose from two dates, both on-site at Illinois Holocaust Museum, 9603 Woods Drive, Skokie, IL:

Wednesday, February 21, 9:00am – 2:30pm We have reached capacity for this date, there are no more available spots.

Thursday, February 22, 9:00am – 2:30pm We have reached capacity for this date, there are no more available spots.

We recommend you submit your nominations as soon as possible – space is limited and we anticipate reaching capacity before the nomination period deadline. Participating schools will be invited to apply for a start-up grant to help fund materials needed to carry out their action plan. Application guidelines will be provided to participating schools in late February.

Keynote Speaker

Dion Dawson, CEO and Chief Dreamer, Dion’s Chicago Dream

Dion Dawson is a food-based social entrepreneur, philanthropic leader, and founder focused on health equity through an innovative and logistical lens. Dion’s penchant for challenging the solvency of food insecurity through the stabilization of the supply chain has reinvigorated the traditional food distribution model. With data-driven operations, consistent quality, and a deep commitment to a resident-informed process that meets residents and recipients where they are, he prioritizes the end-user experience. Dion founded Dion’s Chicago Dream, a nonprofit organization that combats food insecurity through logistics & last-mile delivery. His system provides a week’s worth of fresh produce to the doorsteps of food insecure recipients and has surpassed more than 600,000lbs of fresh produce provided annually, numerous community jobs created and one powerful movement. Dion is an award-winning military journalist, public relations & communications expert, philanthropist, and son of Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood. His philanthropic achievements include being named an Echoing Green Fellow, 2023 Aspen Institute Food Leaders Fellow, 2023 University of Chicago Civic Leadership Academy Fellow, 2023 Chicago Bulls Martin Luther King Legacy Award recipient, and 2021 American Express NGen Fellow. His writings have been featured in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Crain’s Chicago and a host of other publications.

How to Nominate a Student

We recommend you submit your nominations as soon as possible. Nominations will be reviewed and accepted on a rolling basis in the order in which they are received. The nomination period will close when capacity for the program is reached or on Wednesday, January 31, 5:00pm CT.

Nomination Guidelines

  • Students in grades 7-8 in accredited schools or homeschools are eligible to participate.
  • Students should have a sincere interest in enhancing their knowledge of the Holocaust, genocide, human rights issues, and/or social justice issues.
  • Students should have shown an interest in leadership at school or in their communities, or who have shown an interest in creating social awareness. Schools are particularly encouraged to nominate students who are not yet leaders in their schools, but who have the potential to be. Suggested nomination criteria available by request.
  • Students should be willing to actively participate in discussion and activities, meet new people and become student ambassadors for the Illinois Holocaust Museum in their schools and broader communities.
  • A maximum of 10 students per school are permitted. Please consult with your colleagues before submitting your nomination letter.
  • A teacher or administrator must participate in the program along with their students to ensure follow through back at school. (Limit 2 teachers/chaperones per school.)
  • Participating schools must take part in the entire program, until 2:30pm.

You will be notified of your nomination status via email within 48 hours of the close of the nomination period. Additional details and links will be provided at that time.

Participating schools will be invited to apply for a “seed money” grant to help fund materials needed to carry out their action plan. Application guidelines will be provided to participating schools following the program.

Presenting Sponsor of Student Leadership Days:

Education Services: Anonymous; Paul M. Angell Family Foundation; Bank of America Foundation; David P. Brody Charitable Trust; Chicago Bears Football Club; Dr. Scholl Foundation; Kim Duchossois; Full Circle Foundation; Max and Sunny Howard Memorial Foundation; Jones Day Foundation; McGraw Foundation; PNC; Charles and M.R. Shapiro Foundation, Inc.; Women’s Board of the Illinois Holocaust Museum; Young Professional Board of the Illinois Holocaust Museum

Endowment: Congregation B’nai Sholom; The Mayor Richard M. and Maggie C. Daley Education Fund; The Harvey L. Miller Family Foundation Program Endowment Fund; Moselle Mintz Schwartz Education Fund; Barney & Anita Sidler Educational Endowment; Teachers Educational Endowment Fund

Photo credits: Robin Subar

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