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

Empower Yourself: It’s Never Too Late to Get Your High School Diploma

Building Blocks for Better Health: The Role of a High School Diploma

Post Date:07/27/2023 4:00 PM

Author: Live Well San Diego Data Team


Closing the Opportunity Gap: Education's Impact on Social and Economic Wellbeing

Education plays an essential role in personal growth and professional success, and the critical role of obtaining a high school diploma unlocks a brighter future for individuals and communities alike. Studies show that higher levels of education trend toward better job prospects and higher incomes, and by investing in education, communities cultivate a more prosperous and harmonious future. A high school education goes beyond academic knowledge and fosters critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills. A diploma represents perseverance, dedication, and a strong work ethic—highly valued by employers across industries.

Education for Wellbeing: The Importance of High School Diplomas for Good Health

High school education plays a pivotal role in fostering good health and overall wellbeing. High school students are educated on various aspects of physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. Students learn about the importance of proper nutrition, regular exercise, and healthy lifestyle choices. According to research, students who do not earn a high school diploma frequently report suffering from at least one chronic health condition – for instance, asthma, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, hepatitis, or stomach ulcers – compared to graduates. 

According to the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) in 2019, the population of individuals in California aged 18 and above who had less than a high school education accounted for 15.3%, which corresponds to approximately 4.5 million people. Similarly, in San Diego County, the percentage of individuals in the same age group with less than a high school education was 11.4%, representing approximately 278,148 individuals. Efforts to address this educational gap and provide equitable support for vulnerable communities could positively contribute to their overall wellbeing and socioeconomic growth.


Recognized Partner – San Diego County Library Empowers Adults to Earn High School Diplomas Online

San Diego County Library also offers a free accredited 18-month high school diploma preparation program for adults 19 or older to earn their diploma online. Since 2016, over 140 adults across the region have earned a high school diploma through the County Library, leading to greater social, career, and educational opportunities.

“We are incredibly proud of our students, who placed their trust in San Diego County Library and dedicated their time and resources to obtaining a much-deserved high school diploma,” said San Diego County Library Director Miguel Acosta. “These students worked at their studies after work or after the children went to bed. Library High School opens an important door into new careers and supports the County Library’s vision of equitable access for all.”

- Miguel Acosta, Director, San Diego County Library

For more information on this innovative program, visit the San Diego County Library High School web page to learn more. 

Recognized Partner – MiraCosta College Offers Free GED Prep Courses

MiraCosta Community College offers free General Education Degree (GED) preparation to cover all four subjects in Science, Social Studies, Mathematical Reasoning, and Reasoning Through Language Arts. For more information about free coursework information, in-person or virtual class formats, click here.


Indicator Series: Education

The Top 10 Live Well San Diego Indicators define what it means to live well in San Diego. Measured across the lifespan among all residents, the indicators capture the collective impact of programs, services and interventions provided by government and community partners striving to improve quality of life so that all San Diego County residents can be healthy, safe and thriving. The Education Indicator measures the percent of the population over 25 years old with at least a High School Diploma or equivalent. Efforts by the community and Live Well San Diego partners have been moving this indicator in the right direction by implementing programs that target today’s youth to a path of higher education. 

Getting San Diego Data is Easy!

To access the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) data, visit the AskCHIS website.

Additionally, you can find more data at our County of San Diego Data Portal website.

Our open data program encourages the use of public data that the County of San Diego has published to spark innovation, promote public collaboration, increase government transparency, and inform decision making.

I’d Like to Know More

The Live Well San Diego Team specialists who publish data news stories are dedicated public health professionals. For more news stories, please refer to our department website

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