Central San José communities face challenges in developing neighborhood leadership. The Community Leadership Program seeks to create a pipeline of emerging leaders to become ambassadors and advocates for the communities in which they live. CLP provides an opportunity for leaders throughout Central San José to meet each other in structured workshops with SJSU students to discuss solutions to similar issues. Becoming a leader in a challenged community requires proficiency in particular skills. Led by SJSU Environmental Studies professor, Dr. Carolina Prado, neighborhood participants attended a series of weekly facilitation workshops conducted in Spanish to acquire the necessary skills and resources to drive their community building efforts. Workshop topics included community emergency plans, affordable housing, children’s education, neighborhood, safety, community building, data collection, and data analysis.
The confidence to speak: Measuring impacts of a community leadership program on community leadership skills and self-identification
by Carolina Prado, Katherine Cushing, Elizabeth Figueroa, Imelda Rodriguez, Mayra Pelagio & Marisela Castro
This case study explores the participant perspectives of a Community Leadership Program (CLP) in an underserved community. The CLP aimed to improve community conditions by increasing participants’ knowledge, skills, and confidence to participate in local governance forums. Our three research foci were to understand (1) how successful the program was in building individual leadership skills, (2) how skills were applied through participation in leadership activities, and (3) identify the barriers for practicing leadership in marginalized communities. Findings show that CLP participants highlighted the program’s impact on their: confidence to express their findings in public, ability to outreach to members of their community, and self-identify as leaders. While participants were participating more in social and political activities, they also expressed that the program did not equip them to deal with serious barriers such as responses to community members’ practice of leadership, access to institutional power and knowledge, and lack of resources.
By the Numbers | 2019-20
5 SJSU students engaged
26 residents engaged
361 hours of service
100% of emerging community leaders now believe their voice is important in creating community solutions
90% of program participants found the necessary resources to confront problems in their community
80% of emerging community leaders developed the ability to create a plan to find solutions to community problems
“This program took me out of my comfort zone and inspired me to re-engage with my community.”
“My heart is in the community. My imagination soared thinking that the day will come when my dream is a reality and I have maximum support from my community. One day I will achieve it.”
“I received so much information that I feel the need to continue sharing. This is really motivating for us and I feel proud to have been a part of this program.”