Minnesota Fifth Grader Named "Ethical Leader of the Month" by Old MacDonald's Ethical Leadership Farm

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Deephaven, Minn. Youngster Puts Ethical Leadership in Action when Tragedy Strikes Family of Classmate

Julia Balestri

Every good deed makes a difference big or small. Even if you know what you can offer isn't a million dollars, it will put a smile on someone's face. Good things should happen more often.

Old MacDonald's Ethical Leadership Farm has named Julia Balestri, a fifth-grade student at Deephaven Elementary School in Deephaven, Minn., as it's "Ethical Leader of the Month."

The Ethical Leader award is part of an ongoing, nationwide contest that seeks out and recognizes young adults who demonstrate the principles of ethical leadership.

Julia, 11, daughter of Susan Farrell and Brian Balestri, was nominated for the award by Deephaven teacher Karl Boberg. According to Boberg's nomination: "When tragedy struck the family of a fellow student, Julia showed her classmates how helping these people was not only good for a family in need but for each of them as well. She organized fellow students to raise money to help purchase airline tickets and other support for the family."

When told of her award, Julia said she was quite surprised by how quickly and thoroughly she could build parallel interests among her classmates for this important project. "I was thinking that we could raise $200, maximum. Instead we raised around $700."

And Julia had some good advice for her peers: "Every good deed makes a difference big or small. Even if you know what you can offer isn't a million dollars, it will put a smile on someone's face. Good things should happen more often."

Julia, who someday hopes to become an interior designer or architect, was one of the students who attended Deephaven School's elective, after-school leadership program to teach the ethical leadership skills of Old MacDonald's Ethical Leadership Farm, a series of books, training tools and seminars that teach kids how to develop the skills of ethical leadership.

According to John Amann, Old MacDonald's Ethical Farm co-founder, most schools offer a "student council" which he says is more of a popularity contest than anything else. Deephaven chose instead to turn its program into an opportunity for all students to learn more about true leadership and now ethical leadership skills by not having elected officers but opening the program/course to everyone, Amann said.

"I learned a ton from the program, said Julia. "I learned that it's good to speak up and to have partnership. For example, if you never spoke up no one would hear or get behind your ideas."

Teacher Boberg said he knows the skills of an ethical leader and feels so strongly about the need for ethical leaders that he teaches the elective after-school program in which the ethical skills of Old MacDonald's Ethical Leadership Farm are highlighted.

The Ethical Leadership of the Month competition is free and open to all school-age children 6 to 18 years old, and anyone may offer a nomination. To be eligible, the nominated youth must demonstrate one or more of the traits of ethical leaders. That means they must not only meet but exceed the ethical leadership expectations of their classmates, teachers, parents, employers and others.

Those who wish to nominate a candidate may submit the entrant's name and qualifying activities at [http://www.ethicallearder.net]http://www.ethicalleader.net. Each entry must include the name of the entrant, age, and a description of how this individual exhibits the qualities of ethical leadership. Deadline for submitting entries is the last day of each month.

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