LH's Reid McCann works with at-risk kids in the Boston area as part of the Harvard Leadership Institute

Lake Highlands High School graduate Reid McCann’s educational and athletic goals led him all the way to Boston to play football at Harvard University. This January, he’ll really step out of his comfort zone, traveling to Bhutan with fellow members of Harvard’s Leadership Institute.

Reid and his team teach leadership training to at-risk middle school students in the Boston area. They direct the kids to focus on a problem affecting their life and work to address it, with recent projects including a recycling effort, anti-bullying campaign, and ideas for changing the school uniform. “The whole idea is that children can be the ‘leaders of today’ and not just ‘the leaders of tomorrow,’” Reid told me.

Through this work, Reid connected with the Minister of Education in the South Asian Kingdom of Bhutan, and a partnership was born. Six members of the Harvard team will fly to Bhutan to work with the nation’s top students, and they’ll train teachers to develop their own sustainable programs. “The Minister of Education kept stressing to me how impactful this will be in their country as their students have the knowledge but haven’t been able to develop the skills necessary to be successful leaders or businessmen.”

The Kingdom of Bhutan is a poor but happy country located in South Asia

With all their excitement about the big trip, there’s only one thing standing in their way – money. The trip’s total price tag is almost $23,000, but they’ve found funding for all but $5,500 of that. Now Reid, who helped win plenty of Wildcat football games, is hoping LH will help him reach his goal once again. “I have promised my team that I will continue to do whatever it takes to make this dream a reality.”

If you’d like to help, you can email Reid here to get more information. You can mail a check, payable to Harvard University, to Reid McCann, 342 Mather Mail Center, Cambridge MA 02138. The organization is a non-profit, so donations are tax-deductible.

“We have the opportunity to experience a culture and a country seen by very few,” said Reid, “and we will be able to make a lasting impact on the people of Bhutan.”