Resident Leadership Academies

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Resident Leadership Academies (RLAs) are multi-week training programs for San Diego County residents who want to learn how to improve their local communities. Training sessions focus on topics such as community leadership, crime prevention and safety, land use and active transportation, and healthy food systems. Residents learn skills and best practices to address the issues that most affect their communities, and they work alongside their neighbors to help improve quality of life where they live. Upon graduation, attendees have new knowledge and access to a support network to help them lead community improvement projects.

RLA Updates and Opportunities

Many individuals and organizations are involved in Resident Leadership Academies across the County. The latest updates can be found on social media.

RLA Curriculum

Those who would like to facilitate a RLA can find the Facilitator/Train the Trainer and Participant materials below. The RLA Curriculum consists of a Participant Manual, modifiable PowerPoints, and various templates and handouts. The curriculum covers subjects such as Community Building Principles, Social Determinants of Health, Land Use and Community Planning, and more.

The County of San Diego currently has two approved RLA curriculums available. For groups funded for a particular RLA session or project, the version of the curriculum to be used will be determined by your funder (see links below). For all other groups, either version, or elements from both, may be used for the trainings.

  • 1st Edition Curriculum
    1st edition curriculum covers resident-driven community improvement efforts, including community building principles, neighborhood assessment activities and strategies for stakeholder engagement.
  • 2nd Edition Curriculum
    2nd edition curriculum expands on the 1st edition to include embedded activities, reflection questions and content on smoke-free environments and climate change.

RLA Resources & Opportunities

Bi-Monthly RLA Council Meetings
Meetings to provide additional training, discuss RLA updates, and to engage with other RLA practitioners. Anyone in the RLA network (graduates/residents, facilitators, CBOs and agencies supporting RLA) is welcome and encouraged to attend.

Technical Assistance (TA) for RLA Practitioners
TA is provided by the County to any RLA Practitioner involved with RLAs. TA may consist of assistance with planning of future RLAs, and development, refining, and implementation of Community Improvement Projects (CIPs), for example. For groups funded for a particular RLA session or project, the TA provider will be determined by your funder.

RLA Network Supplemental Training Workshops for Current RLA Practitioners
Supplemental trainings are available to anyone in the RLA network (graduates/residents, facilitators). These trainings focus on expanding leadership skills and offering opportunities for current RLA practitioners to engage with one another. The supplemental trainings may cover, but are not limited to, such topics as: Presentation Skills, Meeting Facilitation, and/or Applying for Resources.

New Facilitator Training/Train the Trainer Seminars
Seminar participants attend 3-4 full days of training, which consist of a detailed review of the curriculum, facilitation practice and tips for RLA planning and coordination. One or more new facilitator trainings per year will be offered through 2019.

Contact us for additional information on any of the resources listed above, or to learn about RLAs happening in your community.

RLA Success Stories

Transform Your Life, Hit Your Goals With Small Habits

Post Date:04/18/2023 8:32 AM

Man running through finish lineAdapted from the American Heart Association

Spring is here and it’s a great time to revisit your New Year’s resolutions. Are you on track with your goals? If you’ve come up short, don’t worry. Perhaps you set the bar too high, like changing your entire diet or starting an exercise program that’s far beyond your fitness level. You can get back on track by focusing on breaking down big goals into small, achievable ones. Better health starts by creating one tiny habit at a time.

To help you out, the American Heart Association has busted some myths about behavior change with its “Habit Coach” series.

Habit Coach – Episode 1 – Habit Myths

Myth No. 1: No Pain, No Gain

If you’re suffering, you’re not likely to keep going. It’s not just common sense, it’s science. Breakthroughs in brain science show that positive emotions are actually what make habits stick. Be forgiving of yourself. If you make a choice that is not consistent with your goals, don’t beat yourself up but try to get on a healthier path tomorrow.

Myth No. 2: Go Big or Go Home

This mindset leads people to choose ambitious new habits that are designed to fail. But what we know now is that if we want to make big changes, we have to start small. In fact, the smaller and simpler a new routine is, the more likely it is to become a habit.

“Habit stacking,” is another way to make small changes stick. For example, you could take a daily habit, like brushing your teeth, and add in a little movement, like doing five squats. Before long, you’ll start into those squats without even thinking about it.

Myth 3: New Habits Don’t Stick Because We’re Not Motivated Enough

While motivation is part of the equation, experts say you shouldn’t rely on it. Motivation is usually high at the start of a new habit, but it will inevitably crash. A well-designed habit works on days even when you’re not feeling motivated. So cut yourself some slack. You’re not to blame when a habit fails. It’s time for a new approach that actually works.

Every journey, including your own journey to better health and well-being, begins with just one step. Learn more about changing behaviors and building better habits with American Heart Association. Check out their full Habit Coach playlist on YouTube and their Healthy Habit Hacks blog series online.

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