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Youth Member Spotlight

Meet a Youth Member Dedicated to Making a Difference

The energy that our youth members bring to Leadership Toledo is exhilarating, and their achievements are inspiring – both for their peers and for the adults they work with. Once each quarter, we focus on an individual youth member and talk with them about their work with Leadership Toledo's youth programs, how it has changed their life, and where they think their experience will take them.

Katie Freytag headshot

Katie Freytag

Student, Anthony Wayne High School

How and when have you been involved with Leadership Toledo?

I was a member of Youth Leadership Toledo (YLT) in 2019-2020 and I am entering my second year as a member of Youth in Philanthropy Encouraging Excellence (YIPEE).

What was your favorite moment or takeaway from your involvement?

My favorite moment throughout my involvement was when I was able to volunteer with other YLT members for Social Services For the Arab Community, and was able to see the impact of my service first-hand.

What would you tell others who are considering involvement in Leadership Toledo's programs?

For others who are considering going through LT's programs, I would greatly encourage them to apply! Going through a LT program helps you become better connected to your community, make connections with others, and learn more about yourself. Before LT, I really did not have an idea of what was truly happening in Toledo; now, not only do I understand my community, but I have developed a deep connection to serving it. 

How do you define leadership?

I would define leadership as the willingness to be vulnerable, to take risks, and to work with and guide others in achieving something greater than one's self. Leadership means listening to what others have to say and taking all perspectives into account. It means facing challenges head on with grace and reason. But maybe most essentially, leadership means being willing to do what no one else can, and being brave enough to actually do it. 

What strategies or resources do you find useful in order to continue your leadership development?

I think one of the most useful ways to continue leadership development is continuing to surround yourself with resources and opportunities that encourage growth. I really love the work of Dr. Brené Brown, from her books, including "Daring Greatly," to her podcasts, "Unlocking Us" and "Dare to Lead." She gives incredible insight on our emotions and uses her research to help her audience learn how to lead and live more wholeheartedly. I also find staying in a community that values leadership development, like Leadership Toledo, helps keep me connected to fellow students and individuals who strive to be better leaders. Regarding opportunities for growth, I find it really helpful to take as many chances as I'm given to improve my skills--whether that means applying for leadership positions within my school and community, or simply practicing skills like bravery by trying new foods. I think it can be really helpful and encouraging to try out the things that scare you and realize that you made it out unscathed.

How do you stay active in your community?

This past year, I have volunteered and tutored students within my school district, participated in local band activities, and held a COVID-friendly bake sale to help contribute to the YIPEE grant fund. 

What's new since your involvement in LT? 

I have been inducted into my school's chapter of National Honors Society and am looking toward my senior year of high school at Anthony Wayne. 

What difference can you make through Youth Leadership Toledo? Contact us and we’ll explore the possibilities.

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