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

HomePERQs Highway 2 Homeownership Shows First-Time Buyers Where to Start

Post Date:09/01/2023 5:29 PM

HomePERQs  Highway to homeownership 3x1 banner 

HomePERQs July 19, 2023 Press Release

The "Highway to Homeownership" program is a comprehensive and personalized solution designed to empower individuals and families with the knowledge, resources, and support necessary to navigate the complex process of purchasing their first home. This program is distinctively tailored to address the specific needs and challenges faced by first-time buyers, ensuring a smoother and more successful homebuying experience.

Cara Hilgesen, a seasoned professional in the industry, realized that the hardest part of purchasing a home for first-time buyers is knowing where to start. Potential buyers feel overwhelmed with the process. Cara and her team of dedicated experts created a complimentary coaching program called "Highway 2 Homeownership" offering a range of services including credit improvement strategies, comprehensive savings planning, and access to specialized first-time homebuyer programs to overcome this obstacle. By providing personalized check-ins, one on one coaching, action plans, achievable goals and continuous guidance, the team ensures that clients stay on track and can fine-tune their plans, ultimately leading to successful homeownership.

Unlike any other real estate and mortgage company, homePERQs recognizes that "who you work with matters." The "Highway 2 Homeownership" program goes beyond traditional offerings, emphasizing the importance of a personal touch in guiding clients towards their homeownership goals. The program is flexible, allowing clients to choose the duration that best suits their needs, whether it be a short-term engagement or a longer-term commitment.

As part of the launch, homePERQs is also excited to introduce the "Highway 2 Homeownership" private Facebook group. This exclusive community serves as a platform for program participants to connect, share experiences, and learn from one another. The group will provide a supportive network where members can gain valuable insights, access valuable resources, and stay up-to-date with the latest industry trends. All while being led by Cara and her team.

homePERQs is thrilled to bring this unique program to market, revolutionizing the path to homeownership for individuals and families. The company's commitment to excellence, expertise, and personalized service, sets them apart, making them the go-to partner for anyone looking to achieve their dream of owning a home.

For more information on the "Highway 2 Homeownership" program, please visit or contact Cara Hilgesen at

About homePERQs:
homePERQs is a San Diego-based real estate and mortgage company dedicated to providing exceptional services and personalized solutions to individuals and families on their journey to homeownership. With a focus on expert guidance, innovative programs, and a commitment to customer satisfaction, homePERQs, is redefining the home buying experience.

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