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A 698-word article written by By Kim J. Clark Aka Expanding LoveKim is the mother of a veteran who loved his country and was willing to lay his life down for the freedoms in which he believed. She is the Founder and CEO of The DeMarco Project, a non-profit organization. Her life’s mission is to save veteran lives and improve the quality of life for traumatized military service persons. If you would like to support her in this work, please donate to or The DeMarco Project Facebook page.



Throughout 2023 The “DeMarco Projects Speaks” will showcase phenomenal young people who this writer has had the privilege of meeting through the JROTC. Many people are of the mistaken understanding that kids that joined the JROTC are being recruited for the military. My experience has been, the students are learning and developing leaderships skills. While it is true that some will choose the military, most will not. Whatever the case, I feel it is important that as a community, we must know there is an opportunity for public school students to be groomed to become visionaries and given tools and guidance on how to achieve their highest and grandest vision of themselves.


The student we are showcasing this month is Cadet Lieutenant Colonel LaShaun Wilkerson, a former Battalion Commander for the JROTC program at the Detroit International Academy for Young Women (DIA). LaShaun exudes quite strength. When she walked into the room where we were assembling for a college tour it was obvious that she was a leader. Cadet Wilkerson spoke very few words, but when she did, those around her stopped, paid attention, and gave her the utmost respect.


During the interview, LaShaun expressed that prior to attending the DIA and joining the JROTC, she spent most of her academic years being bullied. She knew it was in her become a leader. She stated that throughout her life her parents instilled leadership qualities in her, but it was hard for her to express those qualities because of the bullying and difficulties she was experiencing at school. She felt belittled and hid what she truly felt she was capable of. However, when her family made the decision to enroll her in the DIA the course of her life changed directions. The leadership qualities began to emerge in 9th grade when she joined the JROTC where she was able to express herself and grow into a confident leader.

Confident Young Leader Interview with JROTC Cadet Lieutenant Colonel LaShaun Wil