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South Bend Leadership Academy is empowering people to create change

SOUTH BEND, Ind.-Are you an aspiring leader? Do you want to make some changes in your neighborhood? South Bend’s Neighborhood Leadership Academy is empowering people to make a positive change in their communities.

The Academy is for people who either have good ideas for positive changes, but aren’t sure how to make that change or someone who has established their goals and wants to create a group or neighborhood association.

“The building blocks of a healthy neighborhood is often times a neighborhood associations, but that most people who want to make positive change in their neighborhood, but don’t completely start out with the association in mind," said Scott Palmer, the Program Coordinator for the Neighborhood Leadership Academy. "They have something else in mind that's usually issue-related, like streetlights, street parking or just getting to know each other with a block party," Palmer said. 

The program started in 2012. NLA collaborates with South Bend Heritage to hold the eight-week training course and it’s free for participants. 

NLA helps classes identify the issues, organize participants into small groups, create an action plan and then present it to the class.

For this year, the program has been revamped. The new Academy will be two-stages that support newer community organizations as well as more established neighborhood associations.

The fall 2017 academy, beginning September 21st, will focus on beginners. The spring 2018 academy is advanced and will focus on how to build or maintain a sustainable organization.  Dates for the spring 2018 program haven’t been announced.

“I think the best part that I received out of it was the comradery and I realized that there were other people in the community who felt just like I did,” said Jasmine Brown, a graduate of the program and now serves on the NLA’s Planning Committee.

Graduates of the Academy have gone on to accomplish many things in their neighborhoods. The course also helps participants navigate the local government and how to build a strong network.

“I think what’s great right now is South Bend is on the rise, we’re in a changing motion and right now we’re looking for the community leaders and organizers because now is there time,” said Brown.

More information on the application process here:

Applications for the fall Academy are due July 29th. To access the application and learn more about the program, click HERE.


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