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Omar Delen of Marriotts Ridge attends leadership summit [Marriottsville/Sykesville/Woodstock]

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The Bank of America Charitable Foundation offers an annual Student Leaders Program to a select group of high school upperclassmen who qualify based on their passionate commitment to improving their communities. Those selected receive an eight-week paid summer internship with a local nonprofit organization and attend a weeklong Bank of America Student Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., in July.

Omar Delen, a rising senior at Marriotts Ridge High School, was one of 232 applicants chosen this year out of more than 5,000 nationwide. He first heard about the program through his older brother, Ali, who applied at the suggestion of a school counselor and was accepted into the 2012 program.

A year prior to Ali's internship, the brothers had created a nonprofit organization, the Social Contract Corp. (socialcontractcorp.org) to help combat hunger in Howard County. Through this effort, they created a network to collect surplus food from local markets and deliver it to charitable venues for distribution.

"The organization has donated over $55,000 worth of foodstuffs, partnered with 13 other companies and nonprofits, and operated within three states," Omar said.

Omar is one of five Baltimore-area student leaders to intern this summer with Teach for America (www.teachforamerica.org). Although he entered the program with preconceived impressions about the organization's mission, he says that "the power inherent in an educator's role is never fully realized until one sees it firsthand."

He cites Liberty Elementary, in Northwest Baltimore, as an example of a high-poverty school that, through its dedicated staff, has transformed into one of the top schools in the city. In turn, the community has become more cohesive and dynamic.

Omar said, "Improved education can be more than just a remote vision. It can be a solution. This is what I've witnessed Teach for America striving towards, and it's been a privilege working alongside them this summer."

To learn more about the Bank of America Student Leaders program, go to about.bankofamerica.com/en-us/global-impact/student-leaders.html.

This month, the Howard County Conservancy will offer two free programs. The first, "Butterflies and Insects in the Summer Meadow," is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 16, at 9 a.m. Husband and wife duo Mike Raup and Paula Shrewsbury, professors with the Department of Entomology at the University of Maryland, will offer an interactive program that teaches about insects, spiders and their host plants. Participants should dress comfortably for an onsite walk.

Next, on Saturday, Aug. 23, at 10 a.m., food blogger Diane Ference will offer tips for "Putting Food Away for Winter — Fruits, Veggies and Herbs." Learn the best way to freeze produce, make pickles and sun-dried tomatoes, preserve fresh herbs for year-round use, and more.

To register for either program, email devon.kosisky@hcconservancy.org with the names of attendees. Go to http://www.hcconservancy.org for more details, or call 410-465-8877.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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SchoolsHigh SchoolsElementary SchoolsCharityBank of America Corp.BankingTeach for America
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