Alumni Association

Join The LeaderShop’s Alumni Association and continue the friendships, service and connection to the organization that helped you become the adult you are today!

Our Latest High School Survey Brings Back Memories

Do you remember what it felt like to be a part of The LeaderShop/CEP? Over the years the same words are used to describe the experience. Words like “confident”, “part of a family”, “a leader”, and “making a difference” are common threads dating back to the 1980’s through today.

Below is a sampling of the results of our most recent high school survey. I hope these responses bring back great memories of the time you spent with us as a teen and remind you just how much The LeaderShop/CEP truly does change lives.

What do you like best about The LeaderShop?

  • “Being able to communicate with my peers in an environment where we help our community.”
  • “What I like about The LeaderShop is the diversity.”
  • “We can all come together and be one be happy family.”
  • “The different programs and opportunities we are given. There’s lots to do, and whenever you feel like helping someone in need, dancing or acting, talking about societal issues, or just hanging out and playing flag tag with people of all ages The LeaderShop is always open and positive to everyone.”
  • “What I like most about The LeaderShop is how safe it feels when I’m there. I know I can relax and be myself and not get judged for it.”

How does being a part of The LeaderShop make you feel?

  • “Being a part of The LeaderShop make me feel more confident and overall makes me feel like a better person.”
  • “Being a part of The LeaderShop makes me feel as if I’m making a difference. When I perform or do volunteer events seeing the reactions on people’s faces is priceless.”
  • “More confident in myself because I know that becoming a leader takes hard work and dedication and building that through the different programs give me motivation and a belief in myself to make a difference.”
  • “Complete.”
  • “It makes me feel happy.”
  • “I love it! I feel so accepted and loved. No matter how bad my day has been I can come to The LeaderShop and feel better instantly.”
  • “Good about myself.”
  • “It makes me feel part of a close-knit family/community.”
  • “Being a part of The LeaderShop has made me feel like I have a voice and I can use it.”

TLS/CEP Alumni Answer Our Service Challenge

On Saturday, April 29, The LeaderShop held its annual Day of Service. Children, teens and adults had the opportunity to volunteer at eight different locations throughout the community. After volunteering in the morning, everyone gathered at The LeaderShop for lunch and group games.

LeaderShop/CEP alumnus Mike McNicholas spent the morning along the banks of Salt Creek. He and other members of the work crew filled several large garbage bags with litter that that had been dropped along the creek. Mike’s positive energy and attitude helped keep the group motivated as they worked.

After returning to the office, Mike purchased $100 worth of goodies sponsored by our High School Leadership Program to help fund its upcoming service trip to Ferguson, MO, just outside of St. Louis. Mike delighted other participants at the Day of Service by sharing the baked treats with them.

Heather Leininger, another TLS/CEP alum, shared her artistic talents by face painting at the Summit Library’s Health Fair in the morning and then continued to face-paint The LeaderShop volunteers in the afternoon at the picnic.

Throughout the afternoon, Heather consistently had a group of teens hanging out with her at the face painting table. They learned new skills as they observed her painting styles and Heather shared her thoughts about life and how we can all make a difference.

Almost everyone at the picnic received a sample of Heather’s exceptional artistic gift.

✉ Please e-mail us the at to let us know where and how many hours you volunteered last month.
❤ Thank you!

LeaderShop and CEP Alumni: Welcome Back!

conf11To All Past Participants of The LeaderShop (CEP), I am so excited about getting The LeaderShop Alumni Association up and running and I can’t wait to reconnect with you! I really appreciate the time and effort that our alumni volunteers have committed to making the association a reality! As you may know I have been a part of this organization for over 32 years now. I’ve had the privilege of working under three successful Executive Directors—Catherine Menninger, David Terrazino and Alan Morales. We’ve made it through three different names—Community Extension Project (CEP), CEP Youth Leadership and now The LeaderShop. We’ve gone from providing crisis intervention programs in the early years to offering positive youth development programs for the past two and a half decades. And we’ve benefitted by being able to work with lots of talented staff members who have shared their lives with us before they’ve moved on in their careers. Most importantly I have had the pleasure of knowing and spending time with you—the alumni of this organization! I have incredible memories from programs that include:
Kid ConnectionKids at Work
Teen UpWise Up
Junior High Leadership ProgramHigh School Leadership Program
After School Homework ProgramY Parties
Youth CouncilYouth Advisory Board
Teen LeadersWatch My Feet
Girls and Guys Groups… and my favorite, Haunted Manor
Through all the years and all the changes one thing has remained constant: the amazing young (and some of you older) men and women you have become. You have no idea how thrilled and excited I am to run into a past participant that I haven’t seen for awhile. It truly makes my day. I am overwhelmingly grateful for all the alumni who have stayed connected and continue to volunteer at our fund raisers, serve as adult leaders at our conferences, join our Board of Directors, become Mentors, support our special events and even join our staff. The thing that is so special and unique about this organization is, as you participate in the service projects, serve as teen leaders, and volunteer at different places in the community, you learn and grow in more ways than you think. Over the years many of you have shared thoughts like:
  • “All this time I thought I was the one giving. Now I realize that I was the one receiving.”
  • “I took the RA training in college and I already knew everything they taught us from being a Teen Leader.”
  • “We were so lucky to have The LeaderShop (CEP)—I thought there were agencies like this in every community.”
  • “I feel confident in my ability to interact with anyone, even if they are different than me, because of my diverse experience at The LeaderShop (CEP).”
Thank you for all that you have taught me over the years, all that you have contributed to our community and to the Agency and mostly for the incredible memories. I am so proud of each and every one of you who continue to make a difference in your communities through your professions, volunteerism and the way that you raise your families. Whether you are a nurse, mechanic, teacher, banker, factory worker or stay at home mom or dad, I am confident that you are continuing to change the world around you in a positive way each and every day, just like you did when you were a younger participant of the Agency. I hope that you will take the opportunity to reconnect by updating your information, sharing a memory about your experiences at The LeaderShop (CEP), and joining us at some of the upcoming alumni events! I so look forward to the opportunity to see you again, reminisce about our good times together and learn where your lives have taken you since I’ve seen you last. Cathy Pierson Director of Volunteer & Community Relations
The mission of The LeaderShop Alumni Association is to establish and maintain a connection among alumni of The LeaderShop, allowing further support and a growing network of past participants. The Alumni Association aims to reconnect past participants of The LeaderShop, previously CEP, with each other and current programs. Click “Update Your Information” (in column at right) to reconnect with The LeaderShop! If you would like to get involved with helping run the Alumni Association, please contact us at

Alumni Memories: Haunted Manor

“Ed Rice convinced me to come with him to help build some haunted house. Little did I know, this would be my favorite part of high school and the reason I majored in theatre and became a teacher. On our first day, Jim Upchurch (who I happened to think was cute … I was boy crazy), asked for volunteers to pick cattails for the swamp room. Ed, Kim Bloom, and I eagerly volunteered. Along with Jim’s little brother (“pop ‘n’ fresh”), we went to a remote place to pick these cattails. When it was time to leave, Jim realized his truck was stuck. This was 1996, so no one had cell phones and we didn’t realize there was a hotel nearby where we could have called for a ride.

“So we sat there for about six hours until Jim got the truck free. By the time we got back to the Haunted Manor location on Burlington Ave, it was late. Apparently, my dad had been waiting for hours at Haunted Manor for us. We were in so much trouble, and I was hooked. I can’t imagine my life with having the experience of CEP’s Haunted Manor! I am so grateful for the volunteer opportunity.”

—Anna Louise Jakubka