About Us

VLA was formed to build bridges between community leaders and students

This bridge is meant to help students grow in their self-confidence and find belief in themselves as leaders, so they can make a positive impact on others around them. The values and lessons in this program were developed by experienced leaders passionate about giving high school students the tools they needed to overcome today’s challenges and find empowerment through community in their school teams and beyond. From this hope, VLA was born.

Mission and Values

We believe that leadership is about more than climbing the ladder of success; it’s about the inner purpose to impact and serve others. We are driven by the desire to create a better world for our teams and those around us, and building bridges to help students belong, believe, and become leaders with purpose. Our mission is to reach and raise up high school students to find their “why” by leading with values and incorporating service and outreach into their lives.

Building Bridges to BELONG, BELIEVE, and BECOME

Our Story

The founding leaders of VLA are Bobby Parks, who has worked in over 40 nations to raise up and mobilize leaders to serve vulnerable communities, and Bishop Aaron Blake, who has devoted his life to service and impacting others through leadership. The two were asked to speak to student athletes struggling during the pandemic, who were facing anxieties and fears of the uncertainty, division, and confusion caused by political and racial tension, and a desire from their coach to see more role models in the community.


Blake and Parks knew the students needed more than a pep-talk: they needed values to guide them, to

BELIEVE they could make an impact, to know they BELONG and had a valuable part to play, and to have guides to help them BECOME the Varsity Leaders they were destined to be. The first Varsity Leadership Academy was birthed with the Midlothian High School football team, facilitated by Blake and influenced by Coach Doug Wendell. The team took part in a powerful outreach in the community, “Shop with a Cop,” with Blake helping the athletes use their influence to impact youth in kinship placements and the foster system. Since then, we are proud to share that VLA has spread to over 10 schools, 50 teams, and over 1,000 students in the 2022-2023 Varsity Leadership Academy programs.

High Schools Served


Jake Morrison

Program Coordinator

Bobby Parks


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