Professionals throughout the business community of Laurel County have been visiting Laurel County schools to help students learn how to become better business leaders.

The London-Laurel County Chamber of Commerce has been partnering with Laurel County Schools for four years now to prep future leaders. The program teaches students skills that include building resumes and cover letters, as well as interviewing and creating workforce connections. The Chamber of Commerce provides volunteers with packets with a week-by-week outline guiding them on what topics and activities each session with the high school students will go over.

Wayne Gentry, the owner of Home Helpers Home Care, is one of this year's first-time volunteers.

"The leaders that are coming up now are in high schools. Being a part of seeing them develop into our next leaders is, to me, a big deal," he said.

Gentry has been a business owner for two decades now. He wants to relay what he learned from his mentors over the years to students taking part in the Junior Achievement program.

"I've taught in the past," Gentry continued. "I've taught Department of Transportation requirements, OSHA Requirements, sales-training. I've coached softball to 8 year-olds, 10 year-olds, 12 year-olds." He added that students in the past had cited him as someone easy to approach.

Gentry volunteered during the fall courses and wanted to make the class interactive.

"I want to have these kids feel a part of the lessons and have a conversation, as opposed to just standing up there and lecturing them. You lose kids in the first 10, 15 minutes if you just stand up there talking at them," Gentry explained.

Kelly Burton, the co-executive director of the London-Laurel County Tourism Commission, is also a first-time volunteer for the program. She refers to teaching as one of her many passions.

"I've been involved in community service for years when I was in health care educating people regarding health and wellness," Burton said. "I just enjoy teaching and educating. Junior Achievement offers critical life skills when it comes to any occupation you decide to go into as a career."

According to Burton, communicating with many different types of people is an integral part of her job as the tourism co-executive director. Being able to understand how to approach numerous people is useful for everybody.

Volunteer teachers instructed students throughout seven sessions during the fall semester. Students who graduated receive the Work Ethic Seal, which can serve as a reference for future job applications. For more information about the Junior Achievement program, call the Chamber office at 606-864-4789.

dcombs@sentinel-echo.com

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