On May 8, 4ATX Foundation hosted an end-of-year recognition ceremony to honor the inaugural cohort of Q2 Verde Youth Leadership Academy students and their mentors. The event celebrated their growth in the areas of self-awareness, communication, social responsibility, goal-setting and more.
The ceremony also recognized Q2’s investment into local underserved high school students by providing a platform for each student to showcase their final project regarding a social issue of their choice.
“We’re very proud of this year’s group of Q2 Verde Youth Leadership Academy students,” said 4ATX Foundation Executive Director Kaitlin Mauro. “We hope that their time in the program has prepared them well for the next steps in their lives, and we’re grateful for the support from our partners at Q2 in making this initiative possible.”
High school students involved with the Q2 Verde Youth Leadership Academy took part in a year-long intensive leadership program and had the opportunity to work after school as paid Verde Leaders coaches at local middle schools. Each was paired with a mentor from Austin FC Founding Partner Q2, who provided them with individualized support and guidance throughout the year.
"Being a part of Q2 VYLA for 10 months was such an impactful experience. I was able to really get involved with my community by helping coach younger kids and learning how to be a role model,” said Q2 VYLA student Omar Segura. “From professionalism to small-talk, Q2 VYLA really helped me learn what I needed to communicate in a work setting while simultaneously allowing me to spread my passion for the sport.”
Students also attended weekly professional development gatherings focused on various leadership-related topics. Staff members from Q2 attended one of these meetings monthly to offer their expertise and mentorship. All students were paid for their participation in the program.
"Mentorship is an interesting experience. In this case, the students probably expected for the relationship to be one sided; that they would learn from us, our Q2 mentors learned just as much from the students as they learned from us,” said Q2 Senior Manager of Talent Development Sunshine Webber. “The commitment these students made over the span of 10 months inspired the mentors.”
This year, the Q2 Verde Youth Leadership Academy class comprised 12 high school students from Northeast Early College High School, Eastside Early College High School, Navarro Early College High School, East Austin College Prep, Harmony School of Excellence, and Weiss High School. Students ranged in age from sophomores to seniors.
As part of the end-of-year celebration, students and mentors will also be recognized at the Austin FC match on June 3. Click here for more information on 4ATX Foundation, the non-profit arm of Austin FC.