The Ottumwa Leadership Academy is in its second year and this year's class of participants spent Thursday learning about the local media. The goal of the group is for its graduates to take leadership positions within the community and knowing how the local media operates and how to interact with them is key.
Each of the participants is also involved in a group community project on a particular issue that impacts Ottumwa and the surrounding area. One of those projects is to raise awareness about the high teen pregnancy rate in Wapello County.
"Talking to the parents, because that's where it all starts is the parents, and then helping them inform their kids," said Aphton Roberts, Ottumwa Leadership Academy Participant. "We can't go door-to-door telling each kid 'don't get pregnant', so you know, we have to get with the parents first and get the information out there to them."
"It's just one of those problems that we think more in the community, even if you're not directly affected, if you're not a teen or you don't have a teen as a child, we believe everybody is affected in the long run by teens having babies, so we want to bring more attention to that," added Sonja Ferrell, another Ottumwa Leadership Academy participant.
There are several other projects in the works, such as working with the high school's silver cord program and learning how to keep the young professionals in Ottumwa. You can see interviews about those projects on KTVO over the next several weeks.