What: Leadership San Juan

When: Deadline to apply for next year s class is May 1. The program starts in September.

Where: Information and an application can be found at her For details, call 505-566-3264.

FARMINGTON — As the Leadership San Juan class of 2014 nears the end of this year's program, organizers are seeking members for next year's class.

This is the 25th year Leadership San Juan has been in operation. The program aims to identify, enlighten and encourage emerging community leaders. More than 500 local individuals have graduated from the program.

Over a period of nine months, Leadership San Juan students attend a day-long session each month and learn about different aspects of the community, such as business, health and human services, multicultural issues, government and education. The goal is for students to come away with a better understanding of San Juan County and how it operates.

"The purpose of Leadership San Juan is to encourage people to become active, positive community members," said Nancy Shepherd, presidential adviser for community relations for San Juan College. "The information provided during the program will enable participants to better understand issues and make better decisions for San Juan County. They will meet people who are also committed to serving their community, and a strong network and bond is created among participants."

This year's class includes individuals who work for social services and health organizations, as well as educational institutions and businesses.

The class completed a day-long session on criminal justice issues in February. The class included presentations by local and federal law enforcement agencies, tours of the adult and juvenile detention centers and presentations by judges.

Next week, the class will be introduced to various media resources in the county, such as newspaper and radio entities, during Media Day, where they will receive a tour of The Daily Times and hear from a panel of media representatives.

2014 Leadership San Juan class members

· Barbara Ake
· Cindy Baez
· Paul Barry
· John Betz
· Teresa Brevik
· David Burke
· Wilton Charley
· Nick Chavez
· Todd Crampton
· Latisha Furtado
· Thomas Gibbons
· Douglas Hatfield
· Daniel Hill
· Jenny Lambert
· Denisa Livingston
· Diane McCall
· Mike Mestas
· Philip Miller
· Susan Nipper
· Doug Pendergrass
· Christa Romme
· Megan Sandbothe
· Natalie Spruell
· Danielle Todacheene
· Jamie Turrentine
· Kevin Wilcox
· Thomas Yost

During the year's program, class members also form groups to complete four different projects aimed at benefiting the community.

Previous class projects have included construction of a low ropes course at the San Juan County Juvenile Detention Center and a greenhouse for Totah Behavioral Health Authority and the creation of a free dental clinic for low-income children.

Many of these projects, like the dental clinic, have been adopted by local nonprofits and are still in operation.

This year's class projects, which are being sponsored by a grant from ConocoPhillips, involve improving the facilities at McCormick Elementary School; a project that provides training for children on the use of a cellphone for emergencies; workshops at Sycamore Park Community Center during Spring Break for elementary and middle school students focusing on career and financial responsibility; and a remodel of an area of Child Haven.

Shepherd says the program isn't just for those who are already in leadership roles. It's for anyone interested in improving the community, she said.

"Anyone who is interested in learning and serving San Juan County is welcome to apply," Shepherd said. "The biggest thing is that Leadership San Juan provides one of the best ways to understand the issues and accomplishments of San Juan County, from many different perspectives."

Leigh Black Irvin covers health for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4610 and Follow her @irvindailytimes on Twitter.