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Leadership. We write about it. We read about it. We study it. And many people in Lincoln live it. Leadership Lincoln celebrates people who live their lives as examples of leadership.

Take Keisha Thomas, for example. In addition to having a full-time job, for nearly three years she has dedicated her time one Saturday each month as a mentor to young men and women in the ASCEND program. The program focuses on Achievement, Self-awareness, Communication, Engagement, Networking and Development skills, and it is a program sponsored by the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority chapter in Lincoln.

Thomas grew up in Kentucky and moved to Lincoln a few yeas ago from Atlanta to get married and raise a family. As a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha, she became involved in the local chapter and volunteered to be a mentor leader of the ASCEND program here. Leadership Lincoln recently awarded her the Melvin W. Jones Mentor Award. This special award is named for Dr. Melvin W. Jones, who served as vice chancellor of business and finance at the University of Nebraska from 1995 until his untimely death in 1999.

Then, there’s Stuart Stofferahn. His involvement in the community as a servant leader led to Leadership Lincoln’s recognition as the Bud Cuca Servant Leader of the Year. Stofferahn recently co-founded the Nebraska Transition College to empower people with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Driven by the challenges he saw in a family member dealing with a child with issues on the autism spectrum, he helped develop the college to provide a tailored learning atmosphere for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

As if that wasn’t enough to label him a servant leader, Stofferahn and his dog Buckley also volunteer their time to comfort and encourage those in hospice. Each week, they visit people who are under hospice care at Tabitha. His servant attitude is also evident in his regular training of people through the Community Action Program. The Servant Leader award is named for the late Ralph “Bud” Cuca, who lived his life as a servant leader in Lincoln.

Leadership Lincoln engages individuals from diverse backgrounds by providing them with a number of classes and programs to help develop knowledge, experiences, skills and leadership tools so they can become effective leaders in the community. Each year, the organization recognizes people in the community with the Melvin W. Jones Mentor Award and the Bud Cuca Servant Leader Award. Thomas and Stofferahn will receive their awards during the Leadership Lincoln annual celebration in May.

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