This year's group includes women.
By NANCY TULLIS
VINDICATOR NEW CASTLE BUREAU
NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- Three years ago, The Lazarus Group began as a means to teach minority men how to become involved in their inner-city communities.
The group formed through the national United Way program, "Project Blueprint," said Eric Gunn, president of The Lazarus Group. About eight to 10 men have participated each year, learning how to prepare for college, interview for jobs, work with foundations and interact with their local elected officials.
Participants must be 18 or older. This year, women will participate too, with training sessions beginning Monday and continuing each Monday through May 19. Sessions are 6 to 8 p.m. at the Lawrence County Learning Center.
Participants who complete the Project Blueprint training are then members of The Lazarus Group, Gunn explained.
The training sessions will include discussions of meeting procedures such as Roberts Rules of Order, housing issues and economic development. The sessions will conclude with a trip to the African-American Museum and Motown-related tours in Detroit.
Gunn called The Lazarus Group a civics lesson in action. Previous groups have worked with at-risk youth, and helped link families interested in purchasing homes through low-interest loans with contractors who used government funding to build homes.
Gunn said a key focus of The Lazarus Group is helping young people know what to expect in job interviews or what high school courses they need to take if they want to go to college. Representatives of area colleges and universities will attend one of the sessions, he said.
Gayle Young, executive director of the United Way of Lawrence County, said the goal of the national program "Project Blueprint" is to identify and develop emerging leaders from racial minority groups and prepare them to become decision-makers in community organizations.
Anyone interesting in becoming a volunteer through The Lazarus Group may call United Way of Lawrence County at 724-658-8528.