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The future success of West Virginia depends on our youth. Today they're students; tomorrow they're (expected to be) our leaders. 

Leadership isn't an inborn trait; it's a set of habits, cultivated over time. How and what they learn today will influence their opinions, behaviors and decisions for a lifetime—which will impact each of us. 

There is a strong correlation between character and effective leadership. As mentors, we must prepare students students to be leaders, but we are? 

  • Are they learning how to work well with others?

  • Do they understand how to take smart risks?

  • Can they self-manage?

  • Are they inspirational?

  • Are they adaptable?

  • Are they courageous?

  • Do they know how to set exceptions and follow through?  

There is a void in character-based, interpersonal skills necessary to help build transformational leaders. We want to contribute. That's how the Habits of Heroes was created. 

This program is designed to help students build strong values and leadership skills and nurture relationships—both between kids and mentors as there's a synergy in connecting them with local business and industry. 

To develop leaders, we must 

  • Invite students into the conversation 

  • Encourage them to find their voice 

  • Encourage them to share in local and regional solutions important to them and relevant in their lives

  • Encourage collaborations 

  • Guide them in connecting with local business and industry 

  • Pay it forward through community service and peer mentorship 

These contributions will build an emotional, spiritual and values-based foundation for students, which is not only important, but critical for West Virginia's future. 



  • More than 100 students and teachers across West Virginia have participated in this program through classroom learning, training camps and/or presentations. 

  • From 2016-2018, nearly 40 students and teachers from James Ramsey Technical Institute in Berkeley County; Carver Career Center in Calhoun County participated in pilot programs from our program. 

  • We have 35 mentors across the state—many of whom are business owners and industry leaders. Mentors can be invaluable resources and can help prepare students to enter the workforce. 

  • We hosted two leadership camps this summer at Fairmont State University for dozens of SkillsUSA student leaders and instructors. 

  • We've tailored our lessons for younger kids in Education Elevators—a statewide nonprofit aimed to elevate West Virginia elementary-aged students by fostering mentorship relationships that fuel their curiosity and support their abilities to learn and thrive. 

  • We offer training! Those who want to train our mentors may engage in a comprehensive training, which includes a transformational leadership experience guided by Jeff Patnaude and an immersion into the 12 lessons. 

  • Teachers can receive three CE credits and learn more about our program curriculum as part of a professional development course at Shepherd University! "The Transformational Leadership to Improve Your Classroom Environment" course serves as an introduction to "Transformational Leadership Theory and Practice for Educators," and explores various aspects of leader development techniques, self-reflection, mindful mediation and team building techniques. 

From 2016-2019: 

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WV Visionary Group Camp with the 2018 SkillsUSA State Directors

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