Kyra Brown had been working at Youth United for Community Action (YUCA), a social justice and environmental justice organization, when her boss suggested the Community Advocates Leadership Academy (CALA). “Oh, hey look. Is this something you’re interested in?” she quotes. “I had never heard of CALA, but when I saw the words ‘community advocates,’ I...
Category: Impact Stories
Author: David Simon “You don’t just gain knowledge; you gain wisdom,” says Ray Larios of his experience in the 2020 Community Advocates Leadership Academy (CALA) cohort. Before applying to CALA, Ray was getting settled in his role with the Citizens Advisory Committee for Peninsula Clean Energy, and he thought CALA would be a good fit...
A self-described “worker bee,” Cheryl has a vision for getting across the climate protection finish line through small but mighty local actions. The advocacy skills Cheryl learned through the Leadership Academy in 2017 – including speaking to elected officials, creating coalitions, mentoring others to advocate – have been instrumental in her success so far.
Experiencing the rich diversity of views in her Leadership Academy cohort and learning about the importance of relationships in advocacy taught Kat how vital coalitions are. Since graduating from the Leadership Academy in 2018, she has done plenty of civic work as a community member and as a paid professional.
Roxana is currently advocating to assure community voices are heard and their expertise is acknowledged. She seeks to be a good role model to her baby daughter by showing that women of color can be powerful and effective leaders in advocating for their communities, particularly when it comes to environmental justice.
Through the Leadership Academy, Alexii learned how to connect with local governments and persuade electeds in service of his tribe. He believes that tribal governments could be more influential than they currently are and wants to see them take their power back as legitimate and equal peers to local governments. He envisions a future where indigenous communities lead decision-making that affects the health of their homelands.
For Trina, the most gratifying part of her work has been facilitating connections that bring people together to find solutions to issues big and small. This is serving her well in her new Executive Director role, working collaboratively with other agencies and organizations like Green Foothills to protect the natural habitats and agricultural lands of Santa Clara County.
Deb joined the Leadership Academy to improve her understanding of the political process and how city staff and agencies interact with nonprofits. She feels the Leadership Academy is influencing her daily work to create an urban open space park in Coyote Meadows. For Deb, the most powerful part of the program was creating her own mission and vision statement to keep her focused on why she does what she does and how she goes about doing it.
Thanks to the Leadership Academy, Uriel is more committed than ever to staying engaged and speaking up for the changes he wants to see. He knows it’s up to him as a community member to show up and keep the pressure on government so they know people care. Uriel is already starting to be recognized for his leadership on environmental issues. In March 2017 he received Bay Nature’s Local Hero award for Youth Engagement.
Within the Leadership Academy, Violet found the support and network to help those who most need it. She says it reaffirmed her passion to work on climate change and build community resilience. Recently, she founded her own non-profit, which cultivates environmental awareness and builds stronger alliances between communities in East Palo Alto and Belle Haven.