July 28, 2017

On Saturday, August 26, the Center for Leadership Development (CLD) will host its annual College Prep Conference & College Fair from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. inside the Sagamore Ballroom at the Indiana Convention Center, 100 S. Capitol Ave. 

The event — which is open to incoming eighth-graders through high school seniors, and their parents — will feature a keynote address from the Honorable Judge Tanya Walton Pratt, the first African-American federal judge in Indiana history. There will also be college prep workshops on everything from SAT/ACT preparation to financial aid and the college admissions process, as well as opportunities to meet with representatives from more than 40 colleges and universities.

The College Prep Conference & College Fair is just one of a number of value-based programs and initiatives CLD offers to Indiana students throughout the year. The organization provides programs for students (including mentoring, reading, college-readiness) for students beginning in fourth grade and continuing through 12th grade. Programs are conducted by established professionals and certified counselors. Many of the services are low to no-cost for participants.

“Our mission is to foster the advancement of minority youth in Central Indiana as future professional, business and community leaders by providing experiences that encourage personal development and educational attainment,” said Joi Harmon, CLD’s marketing and recruitment associate. “Our vision is to establish CLD as one of the most preeminent centers in the nation for inspiring the highest character and leadership skills, and the highest academic, college and career achievement in African-American youth.”

Founded in 1977 by Henry Bundles, today the organization is headed by Dennis Bland, a CLD and Broad Ripple High School alum. Since its inception, CLD has maintained a connection with IPS students and schools.

Shortridge International Baccalaureate High School, George Washington High School and Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet High School, as well as others, share information on CLD programs with their families.

Attucks even takes it a step further by requiring all 10th- graders to participate in the 13-week Self-Discovery/Career Exploration Project. Principal Lauren Franklin also encourages students to participate in other CLD programs, eliminates travel barriers by providing transportation to and from the school to program sites and sponsors students’ program fees.

Franklin understands the benefits of CLD’s programming and sees the difference the organization is making in her students. The success rate of students who participate in CLD is undeniable.

According to Harmon, 95 percent of all CLD participants have successfully graduated from high school, 75 percent have graduated from college in six years or less, and 90 percent have enrolled in post-secondary education.

For information on CLD programs, visit www.cldinc.org. To register for the 10th Annual College Prep Conference & College Fair, click here or call 317.923.8111, ext. 217. Cost for the conference is $15 per person.