When members of Leadership Johnson County looked around the place they call home, they saw a number of issues.

Children were going hungry on weekends and during weeklong breaks when the schools couldn’t feed them. Many kids had the need for an adult mentor, but agencies reported they were having a hard time recruiting adults to serve as role models for them.

Senior citizens were being preyed upon by frauds and scammers. The county’s best attractions were often unknown even to local residents.

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This year’s Leadership Johnson County participants are working on projects that will hopefully impact each of those issues. Through fundraisers, marketing campaigns and community events, they’ll try to lay the foundation to improve the county, said Kate Taylor, assistant director of Leadership Johnson County

For more than 20 years, Leadership Johnson County has been training new leaders to create meaningful change in the community. The program was founded in 1995 after area residents expressed concern about the direction local agencies, government and business would go in the future.

The class meets once a month, focusing on a different aspect of leadership each time. Participants learn how to lead meetings, to identify the best people to help with a particular job and how to organize a team.

One of the requirements of the program is to break into small groups and pick a community project. Each group chose an issue they felt could impact the community, and they are in the process of putting their plans into action, Taylor said.

At a glance

About Leadership Johnson County

What: A county organization that works to train new leaders and make meaningful change in the community.

Where: Based at Franklin College

Who: 37 members from throughout the community

How to get involved: Applications are available now for the 2015-2016 class of Leadership Johnson County. Visit leadershipjohnsoncounty.org to apply online.

Any resident of Johnson County can apply, and nonresidents are eligible provided those individuals have worked or have been active in the county for at least two years immediately prior to the time of application.

The Leadership Johnson County Board of Trustees selects 25 to 35 class members each year. Participants are chosen to reflect geographic, occupational and ethnic diversity.

Applications are due March 18. Those that are turned in by March 1 receive $50 off tuition costs.

Tuition for the program is $1,250. A nonrefundable deposit of $250 will be required at the time of acceptance into the program.

Scholarships are available for up to $750 of the program costs.

Information: An informational meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Feb. 17 in the Henderson Conference Room, Johnson Center for the Fine Arts on Franklin College’s campus, corner of Grizzly Drive and Branigin Boulevard.

Ryan Trares is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at rtrares@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2727.