Neighborhood Leadership Program

What is the Neighborhood Leadership Program (NLP)?

The places where our feet touch the land hold many stories. Through our stories, we name the molecular impact of the current system’s logic (ideas, arrangements and effects) on our mind-bodies, homes, and communities.

The Neighborhood Leadership Program (NLP) is a seven-month program that brings a cohort of up to 20, 18 years of age or older, in Dakota and Anishinaabe territory, also known as the Greater Twin Cities area. NLP aims to grow people’s capacity to practice self-awareness, working across differences and value-based action.

NLP Curriculum

Central to the program is telling stories, cultivating new relationships, and exploring ways we can live into the world we know is necessary, possible, and in many small ways, already present.

Participants explore three core tenets throughout the program year:

  • Self-awarenessGrowth
    • Learn about the struggles to defend knowledge of land and lifeways of Dakota people on Mni Sota Makoce and reflect on our own relationship to settler-colonial domination.
    • Leverage tools for self-discovery and self-study (reflect on engagement style, strengths, and growth edges).
    • Reflect on our personal values and motivations for community engagement.
  • Working effectively across difference
    • Explore conflict as invitation for transformation.
    • Practice co-articulation of vision for our future that centers community and the land.
  • Value-based action 
    • Connect concepts of community engagement to various areas of interests (example: housing, human rights, farming, education, abolition, etc.).
    • Engage readings, videos, podcasts, dialogue during sessions to connect the material to our personal reflections of self, our lineages, and sense of purpose.
    • At the end of the program, is invited to share a final project that responds to three questions: What am I? Who am I in relationship to others? What am I learning about my place here on this earth?

Participant Commitment

Overall commitment:

  • Required: Attend NLP Orientation, Bdote Immersion, seven Saturday sessions, and Graduation. Complete the final project and schedule a one-on-one with a NLP within the program year. 
  • Optional: Complete homework assigned to prepare for sessions and attend North Star Black Cooperative study sessions.
  • Stipend: Participants are given a $500 stipend to honor their time and commitment to the program. Half the stipend is given after attending Bdote Tour, and half (prorated based on attendance) is given at the end of the program.

Who should participate in NLP? 

Our program is open to applicants who are both early and seasoned in their leadership journey. At NLP, we are more interested in learning about your passions and commitment to shape change in community than popularity, degrees or accolades. Everyone has something to learn and share from and with one another.

Applicants must:

  • Be 18 years of age or older by September 1st, 2023Reflection
  • Live in the Greater Twin Cities Metro region 
  • Identify as a person who loves deeply, hard, and true
  • Can attend all required program sessions and related activities during the extent of NLP program

2023-2024 Program Dates: Sessions are the second Saturday of the month from 10:00am – 3:00pm, with the exception of the first session (Bdote Tour) on September 30th. Participants are required to attend all program sessions and events.

  • Orientation – September 16th 
  • Session 1: Bdote Tour – September 30th (9:00am – 4:00pm)
  • Session 2: Personal Values – October 14th
  • Session 3: Insights Self-Discovery – November 11th
  • Session 4: Navigating Conflict – December 9th
  • Session 5: Soil Strategy – January 13th
  • Session 6: Mycelial Network – February 10th
  • Session 7: Solidarity Economy – March 9th
  • Session 8: Bridging Past to Present – March 23rd
  • Session 9: Final Project Share Out – April 13th
  • Graduation – April 27th

*Capacity Acknowledgement

We understand that life can be a lot of things for us: stressful, traumatic, isolating, eye-opening, etc. Everyone is experiencing this world in different ways, and NLP staff have worked hard to support cohort members so they can participate at their highest level. That said, this program is completely voluntary and rigorous. None of us can be everywhere all the time, and the collective cohort experience is negatively impacted when cohort members are not present. 

If you are feeling stressed about your current/future workload or work/life balance (spiritual, emotional, mental capacity), if you feel like you may have competing meetings, programs, or other demands during program times – we strongly encourage you to take care of yourself and consider applying for another cohort year. This program will be around next year! It is important for us as facilitators to know that our program participants have not only the passion and willingness to join NLP, but also the time and capacity to fully participate.