By Kristine Wilson — The Pryor Leadership Studies Program was created in 1993 by Fred and Shirley Pryor with the hope of spreading the concept of “Forces for Good.” To say they achieved this is an understatement because the Pryor Center for Leadership Development, along with the Pryor Leadership Studies Program, serves over 250 William Jewell students and over 8,000 community members each year. The old Kappa Alpha fraternity house was
converted into the Fred & Shirley Pryor Center for Leadership Development in the spring of 2006. The Pryor Center also houses the American Humanics Nonprofit Leadership Program and the Nonprofit Leadership major and minor. The Pryor Center is used for a number of things from an academic building to departmental offices. The building is even rented out to the public for various events.
One of the most noteworthy achievements of the Pryor Leadership Studies Program is Legacy Projects. Each year the students involved in the Pryor Leadership Program are challenged to create and help maintain a Legacy Project that can help benefit the community. One of the most well known Legacy Projects is the Tucker Leadership Lab which was created in 2000. It serves not only the Pryor Leadership Program but also schools, businesses, various sports teams and more. In 2005 the Legacy Project teamed up with YMCA to help raise funds to create athletic fields to accommodate the needs for over 30,000 children in the Kansas City area who have special needs. In 2007 the Legacy Project teamed up with the Kiva program to help raise money and economic success around the world. The most current Legacy Project is Raising a Reader, created in 2010. It provides different colored bags of books to parents so that their young children can begin to increase their reading level.
One critical aspect of the Legacy Projects is that once they are created it is also the students’ responsibility to help figure out how to maintain them. The American Humanics Nonprofit Leadership Association took over the Skip a Meal Program which is going on its second year. It partnered with Harvesters and raised $6,400 last year for the Harvesters BackSnack program. This program focuses directly on the Jewell students because they can sign up to skip one meal a week, and then the value of that meal is put toward food that will be placed in a backpack and sent home with a child who is in need of food. One meal skipped by a Jewell student can equal two meals in a backpack for a child in need. To help educate students about hunger issues, a Hunger Banquet is scheduled for March 31. The banquet is an experiential activity helping participants understand hunger-related issues and food insecurity. This is accomplished by separating the participants into three groups: one gets barely anything to eat, the second group gets slightly more, and the last gets a full course meal to help establish hunger awareness around the world and around the community.
Another major program is the Doniphan Leadership Institute which was also established in 2007. The Doniphan Leadership Institute is a six month program to help prepare leaders in the Kansas City Community. It reaches out to adults to train and develop their leadership skills.
The Pryor Program and Pryor Center are focused on improving the community and the world any way they can. Whether that be helping the hungry, helping special needs children, helping children read, helping struggling businesses, or just creating further leaders, they really are being “Forces of Good” in any way they can. If you wish to learn more or are interested in contributing to any of these programs, visit www.pryorcenter.org. You can also contact Matt Brillhart (firstname.lastname@example.org, 816-415-5075) Director of Community Outreach or Kevin Shaffstall (email@example.com, 816-415-5076) Director of the Pryor Center for Leadership Development.