Wayne Community College will tackle a timely topic this week -- empowerment.

The program had originally been scheduled to coincide with Martin Luther King Day last week but was delayed because of the anticipated Jan. 17 storm.

The panel discussion format will now be held on Wednesday, Jan. 24, from 11 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. in Moffatt Auditorium. It is free and open to the public.

The WCC Cultural Diversity/Global Education Task Force organized the event, "Achieving the Dream: Leading and Empowering Change."

Bill Reboli, psychology instructor, said the overriding theme boils down to applicable messages for students and community members alike.

"You can create social change," he said. "We want to help our kids understand that there's social responsibility."

In order to go from knowledge to application, it is important to know what change looks like, Reboli said.

"We don't always control things but we can influence things," he said. "We can control who we are.

"I would like to see us inspire change more than talk about it."

Reboli served as moderator for last year's event. His contribution prompted several to approach him about being on the panel this year.

He said he is looking forward to the opportunity to share as well as exchange ideas with other panelists, then respond to questions from the audience.

He also hopes to leave the audience with a challenge to take up the mantle set forth by King.

The atmosphere right now is ripe for that to happen, he said.

As a student himself at WCC over 25 years ago, he said his own dream was to be a full-time faculty member teaching psychology. He has also been a practicing family therapist, a musician and published author of a book, "Faith in Our Families: A Nostalgic Look at Contemporary Families."

"I know what change feels like," he said. "I get excited when I feel that anxiety because change is going to occur. It really excites me."

He is also adviser to the multi-cultural club at the college, which has been a rewarding experience, he said.

"It would surprise you how many different languages are spoken here, how many different cultures," he said. "We do want them to come out and support us. I want them to know that we're working in this community in Wayne County to bring change, positive change for all of us here, regardless of race or religion."

Others on the panel represent different academic perspectives as well as a variety of personal experiences and philosophies.

These include Patrick Brashears, history teacher at Wayne Early Middle College High School; David Craig, sociology instructor; Andrea Freile, communications instructor; and Harold Warren, transitional programs for college and career records specialist.

Moderator will be Dean Lawson, a history instructor.

Each panelist will be given the opportunity to provide a statement about leadership and how they empower change. Then the moderator will ask them to respond to several questions before opening the floor for the audience to ask questions.

The program will also be recorded and later posted on the college's YouTube channel.