Neighborhood Leadership Program

What is the Neighborhood Leadership Program (NLP)?

The Neighborhood Leadership Program (NLP) is a leadership and community engagement program where we learn to protect the vitality of our communities by first learning how we are as individuals, who we are in connection to others, and what we can do in our respective spaces. We explore the collaboration necessary to transform our neighborhoods and the systems in which they interface.

NLP is a 6-month program rooted in the power of community engagement that brings up to 25 people together across neighborhoods and identities—like race, class, gender, age, and others. Together, cohort members deepen self awareness, learn skills to work effectively across difference, and create transformative change in their communities.

NLP Curriculum

Central to the program is telling stories, cultivating new relationships with ideas and people, and exploring ways we can live into the world we know is necessary, possible, and, in many small ways, already there. We create a rich and meaningful curriculum that allows for participants to become rooted in the power of community engagement to create meaningful and transformative change in participants’ respective neighborhoods. 

Participants explore three core tenets throughout the program year:

  • Self-awarenessGrowth
    • Clarify personal values and motivation for being a part of movements for social justice 
    • Respite and healing opportunities for deep reflection
    • Cultivate personal leadership style and strengths
    • Sharpen analysis of social oppression 
  • Working effectively across difference
    • Cross-cultural communication and conflict skills
    • Intercultural relationship building and story-telling with others committed to creating more racially just, loving and prosperous communities 
    • Connect and dialogue around various issues with NLP alumni, past staff, coaches, supporters, and community members
    • Learn about  leadership and engagement models that strengthen our communities and neighborhoods
  • Taking meaningful action in community
    • Explore opportunities for neighborhood involvement and community leadership
    • Develop organizing skills like storytelling, relationship building, structuring teams, strategizing, and action planning, and more
    • Build power that centers the voices of those historically marginalized and oppressed

Participant Commitment

  • Overall commitment: Two, three-hour meetings per month for six months, for a total of 12 meetings, connecting with community leaders throughout the program year, homework in between sessions, and a storytelling project at the end of the program in response to these three questions: Who am I? Where do I come from? What is my place here? (Thank you Dr. Asa Hiliard!)
  • Stipend: Participants are given a $500 stipend to honor their time and commitment to the program. Half the stipend is given at the beginning, 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. 

Meet the 2021 NLP Cohort

Applicants must:

  • Be 18 years of age or older by September 1st, 2021 Reflection
  • Live in the Greater Twin Cities Metro region 
  • Believe in social justice and racial equity
  • Be in relationship with, or are a part of, Black, Indigenous and people of color communities 
  • Be committed to attending all of scheduled cohort meetings and program-related activities during the extent of the program (students are welcome to apply if they can guarantee their availability the entire program year)
  • Be interested in making positive change in your neighborhood or community

2021-2022 Program Dates: participants are required to attend all program sessions.

  • Friday, October 8th, 5:00 pm- 8:00 pm 
  • Saturday, October 9th, 11am-3pm 
  • Tuesday, November: 9th, 5-8 pm 
  • Tuesday, December 7th, 5-8 pm 
  • Tuesday, January 4th, 5-8 pm 
  • Tuesday, January 18th, 5-8 pm 
  • Tuesday, February 1st, 5-8 pm 
  • Tuesday, February 15th, 5-8 pm 
  • Tuesday, March 1st,  5-8 pm 
  • Tuesday, March 15th, 5-8 pm 
  • Tuesday, March 29th, 5-8 pm
  • Tuesday, April 12th, 5-8 pm 
  • Tuesday, April 29th (Program Graduation), 5-8 pm 

Applications for the 2021-2022 NLP cohort are now closed. Check back in the summer of 2022 to apply to the next cohort!

*Capacity Acknowledgement

We understand that COVID has been a lot of things for us: stressful, traumatic, isolating, eye-opening, etc. Everyone is experiencing this pandemic 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 a rigorous addition at an additional 5-10 hours per month. 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.