Rapides Foundation holds leadership conferences in Natchez and Ferriday

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 11, 2001

FERRIDAY, La. – The nonprofit Rapides Foundation is teaching 19 representatives from 11 central Louisiana parishes how to be effective leaders during a two-day conference in Ferriday and Natchez.

The fourth of six sessions entitled &uot;Leadership for a Healthy Cenla&uot; was held Friday at the Doty Road Center just outside Ferriday. The second and last day of the conference will be held today at the Radisson Natchez Eola Hotel.

The foundation’s hope is that the conference will make attendees more effective in spearheading needed projects in their communities, said Dianne Williams, community development program advisor for the Alexandria-based foundation.

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Those representing Concordia Parish at the conference said through a combination of lectures and group activities, they are learning valuable leadership skills.

&uot;It teaches us better communication skills, especially in dealing with governmental bodies,&uot;&160;said Windell Millicks of Vidalia.

&uot;Many times, we take for granted that we can communicate effectively, but we’re really not,&uot; Millicks said.

For Alex Promise of Ferriday, the best thing about the conference was that it brought together people from throughout the region who are willing to tackle their areas’ problems head-on.

&uot;It’s been an extraordinary meeting,&uot; Promise said. &uot;People from all over the state have been brought together to define what the problems are.&uot;

For one thing, he said, &uot;They’re willing to acknowledge the racial divide that exists. And they’re seeking to bring about change.&uot;

The Rapides Foundation, established in 1994, is a philanthropic organization with assets of more than $200 million.

It provides grants to organizations throughout an 11-parish service area for project to improve the health and well-being of the region’s residents.

Its service area includes Concordia, Catahoula, Allen, Avoyelles, Evangeline, Grant, LaSalle, Natchitoches, Rapides, Vernon and Winn parishes.