Bank of America Selects Two Manatee County High School Students as 2022 Student Leaders

Todays News

Pictured: Dilan Desir and Stephani Bryant, Sarasota-Manatee Student Leaders. Photo courtesy of Bank of America.

Two Sarasota/Manatee County high school seniors have been selected to participate in this year’s prestigious Bank of America paid internship program, Student Leaders® (#BofAStudentLeaders), an internship providing students with first-hand experience in serving their communities. Throughout the eight week program, participants learn financial literacy and workforce development skills. Started in 2004, the paid internship recognizes 300 community-focused juniors and seniors from across the U.S. annually and offers experience with local nonprofits, including Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County. The Class of 2022 Sarasota-Manatee Bank of America Student Leaders are: Stephani Bryant and Dilan Desir.

Seventeen-year old Dilan Desir graduated from the State College of Florida Collegiate School and plans to attend Stanford University in the fall. Having immigrated to the U.S.following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti that destroyed his home, Dilan has founded the Haitian Donation Initiative, which collects and distributes supply donations to the Port-Au-Prince area and helps translate legal documents and facilitate international communications for fellow Haitians. Dilan also gives a voice to other activists around the globe, serving as an editor for Raise the Voices, which chronicles the work of international human rights projects. Dilan applied for his internship in January and learned he was chosen in April. “This feels like a huge blessing,” he says. “Only two people from the area were selected from over 100 applicants and I was one of them, so it’s really an incredible opportunity.” In the future, Dilan hopes to be involved in public health and work with nongovernmental agencies specifically focused on healthy living in vulnerable communities. His advice to younger students: “Don't be afraid to do what nobody else is doing and try to find validation within yourself before seeking it within others. And to all rising juniors and seniors: Apply to the Bank of America Student Leadership Program. You’ll learn about diversity in the workplace and how to interact with people from very different backgrounds.”

Stephani, a senior at Southeast High School is dedicated to empowering women and raising awareness of important social issues within the community. She volunteered for seven years with ongoing participation with the Margwine Organization, which connects young girls with mentors, educational opportunities and a nurturing environment that helps them reach their fullest potential. Her responsibilities over the years have included organizing community activities, raising money for Haitian youth, and donating school supplies to those in need. A huge advocate for mental health in her community, especially for minorities and children, Stephani plans to study psychology/sociology in college. In her spare time, she enjoys a variety of activities from painting to creating miniature house models. She also likes to play the electric guitar, piano and ukulele. “As a shy overthinker, especially when I was younger,” she says, “I constantly limited myself. It is very important to make the most out of opportunities that come your way and set goals for yourself because when you get older many of these chances will fade. I would never have had this opportunity if I hadn't taken the chance and applied for the Bank of America Student Leaders program. Take initiative and just do it!” she adds.

Pictured: Dilan Desir and Stephani Bryant, Sarasota-Manatee Student Leaders. Photo courtesy of Bank of America.

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