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MEDIA ADVISORY: Ronald Reagan Student Leadership Program 2017 Applications Now Open

One Week Program Challenges Students to Improve Their communities

SIMI VALLEY, CA--(Marketwired - January 12, 2017) - The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute are pleased to announce that applications have opened for its 4th year of the Ronald Reagan Student Leadership Program. Since 2013, the Ronald Reagan Student Leadership Program has been cultivating high school students from across the nation, developing them into actively engaged citizens in their communities. After participating in the summer program, former students have gone on to receive such accomplishments as scholarship awards, grant funding for their projects, recognition in school and local newspapers, and leadership roles in various clubs and organizations. Each summer 225 students are selected to participate in the program. Applications for the 2017 summer opened on January 1, 2017. More information can be found at: www.reaganfoundation.org/summerleadership

"We teach important skills such as public speaking and research," said program manager Alissa Whiteley. "But the way in which these skills are implemented is how they grow as a leader; each student creates a plan of action which will make a positive difference in the lives of others."

Past graduates of this program have included:

Frankie Allegra, Simi Valley, CA:

After going through the Ronald Reagan Student Leadership Program and being challenged to address an issue they are passionate, 12th grade student Frankie Allegra of Grace Brethren High School raised over $6,000 to purchase presents for needy children, selected by working closely with the principals at two local elementary schools. The gifts were distributed by Frankie and the Simi Valley Police Department. She worked with the Police Department after watching all the news stories of the violence against cops hit home, as Frankie's dad is a police officer. "I am so happy that I was able to do something good, not just for the kids and their families, but to support the great work that our police officers do for the community every day," said Frankie.

Zachary Leo and Emily Park, Woodland Hills, CA:

When 10th grade students Zachary Leo and Emily Park of El Camino Real Charter High School graduated from the Ronald Reagan Student Leadership Program in July 2016, they formed their school's first chapter of the Cool 2 Be Kind Club, a national initiative promoting anti-bullying. Five months later there was an unprompted and vicious attack on classmate Jordan Peisner as he stood outside of a Wendy's restaurant in the San Fernando Valley. "I never would have thought something like this would happen to someone in our school," said Leo.

As a result of the attack, Emily and Zack immediately went into action. They worked closely with the school principal, the LAPD, local shop owners and council members to hold a rally in support of Jordan, which nearly 500 people attended on December 17, 2016. "It really means a lot to Zach and I to have such a strong support system, such as the Ronald Reagan Student Leadership Program, to help motivate us and drive us," said Emily. "Although it was not meant to be a fundraiser, we ended up raising over $900 to support victims of bullying."

Daniel Rodriguez, Santa Clarita, CA:

After completing the Ronald Reagan Student Leadership Program, Daniel Rodriguez was chosen as an ABC7 "Cool Kid" for his plan which he named "The Sunshine Project," which aims to help those dealing with depression or anxiety. "We hope to brighten their days by giving them sunflowers," said 17-year old Rodriguez. Once someone is nominated, they receive a hand-delivered sunflower with a granola bar, bottle of water, and a note of encouragement. Rodriguez knows what it's like to battle with depression and bipolar disorder and he admitted making others feel better has also helped him out. "It definitely showed me there are a lot more good days and this project has been, in many ways, a form of therapy," Rodriguez said.

Caroline Barnes, Texas:

Students from all across the country attend the one week summer Ronald Reagan Student Leadership Program. After finishing the program, Caroline Barnes delivered 635 arts and crafts kits to patients at Texas Children's Hospital. Said Barnes, "Through this project, I realized that no matter who you are you always want to feel valuable, complete, and loved. And I learned these can be provided in something as simple as an art kit."

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute is the non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to the promotion of the legacy of Ronald Reagan and his timeless principles of individual liberty, economic opportunity, global democracy, and national pride. It sustains the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, California, the Reagan Center for Public Affairs, the Walter and Leonore Annenberg Presidential Learning Center and The Air Force One Pavilion, as well as educational programming and the Reagan Institute in Washington, D.C. The Reagan Library houses 63 million pages of Gubernatorial, Presidential and personal papers and over 60,000 gifts and artifacts chronicling the lives of Ronald and Nancy Reagan. It now also serves as the final resting place of President and Mrs. Reagan. www.reaganfoundation.org

Editor's Note: Photos of students and their community projects, including photos of the students mentioned above are available. Please email [email protected] for access.

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