gmhTODAY Fall 2021 October-December 2021 | Page 71

Down the road in Gilroy , the class of 2020 got underway in February only to be faced with the economic shutdown one month later . Under the direction of new executive director Mike Luevano , the class adapted right away , eventually morphing their proposed “ fun run ” class project into “ Garlic cLove Days ” ( pronounced “ see-love ”) to pay homage to the Garlic Festival that could not take place , and to provide much needed fundraising proceeds to local charities .

In all , the class raised over $ 30,000 dollars for local non-profits . They created a community wide celebration lasting over several weeks , culminating with a community wide “ ringing of the bells ” for solidarity , hope and resilience at 5:30pm on Sunday July 26 . Bells were rung all over town and in nine states .
In 2021 , the class began in mid-April via zoom and currently uses in-person , virtual and hybrid meetings . The class is currently working on a softball tournament fundraiser and a backpack giveaway program for local students . Meanwhile , they are actively recruiting members for the class of 2022 . For more information visit : leadershipgilroy . org .
Between the 2020 class graduation and the 2021 class kick off , Leadership Gilroy stayed relevant by hosting a hilarious and entertaining “ Masked Singer ” competition online and a popular “ Happy Hour at Home ” Facebook Live series featuring local restaurants and community leaders mixing creative cocktails — with varied results — as participants followed along at home with pre-ordered mixology kits . Their monthly “ Rise and Shine ” alumni breakfast series , launched in June , provides an opportunity for past graduates of the program to reconnect and network with other leaders .
Founded in 1998 , the program was recognized as co-recipient of the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce ’ s 2021 Spice of Life “ Educator of the Year ” award earlier this year . Luevano accepted the award citing the contributions made by the organization ’ s board and staff over the years .
Moving beyond the shutdown , we look to these programs to continue to do what they do best — inspire and develop new leaders ready to serve our communities . Both programs are not merely still standing , they are alive and well . That ’ s great news for our communities .
IMAGES : # 1 Wall art welcoming children into the Kids Zone at the Morgan Hill Community Garden . # 2 Fence panels painted in colorful likenesses of children art installation . # 3 Leadership Morgan Hill Class of 2020 created the Kids Zone at the Morgan Hill Community Garden as their class project . # 4 painted pavers provide a colorful path . # 5 Gilroy Leadership Class of 2020 promoted their cLove Days throughout the community . # 6 the class raised over $ 30,000 for local non-profits . # 7 Gilroy Leadership Class of 2021 has navigated their way through the economic shutdown , meeting via zoom , in-person and hybrid classes .
Are leaders born or made ?
Yes .
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FALL 2021