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.
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
Gardening Helps Teachers Grow Classroom Nature Programs
Author: Amy Zink, Garden Educator and Horticultural Therapist, County of San Diego
Using school gardens to teach children about science, healthy eating and nature was the brainchild of five organizations dedicated to supporting teachers with professional development and strategies for engaging children in nature during the school day.
Thirty-five San Diego Unified School District teachers with students in kindergarten through 12th grades attended a March 7 “Intro to School Gardens" event at the Valencia Park Elementary School garden and classroom, where topics included:
Gardening basics and school garden organization presented by the University of California Cooperative Master Gardeners School Garden Committee.
Hands-on presentations in the school garden, seed-starting, irrigation basics, garden bed construction, warm weather crop-planting, native plant and pollinator gardens, and a microscope demonstration by the master gardeners.
Garden Standards and Classroom Connections presented by the San Diego Office of Education Science Department.
An introduction to nature journaling presented by San Diego Children and Nature Network.
Harvest of the Month presented by San Diego Unified School District’s Farm to School program.
CalFresh Healthy Living and Garden Nutrition Education presented by County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency.