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
Embracing Foster Children With Faith in Action
Faith in Motion is a collaborative effort between the County of San Diego Child and Family Well-Being Department, Foster Family Agencies, and local faith communities. The mission of Faith in Motion is to support and enhance permanency for children and youth in foster care through collaboration with San Diego’s Foster Family Agencies and the faith-based community. With this mission in mind, Faith in Motion focuses on two goals:
- Recruiting resource families (also known as foster and adoptive parents) in the faith-based community who are willing to provide love, support and high-quality parenting to children in foster care
- Collaborating with faith-based communities and Foster Family Agencies to support children and families within the Child Welfare Community
Since 2021, nearly 40 faith partners have been engaged to provide support and wrap-around services to youth in care and their families. Olive Crest, a Foster Family Agency, and Restoration 225 (a faith-based nonprofit) have led the charge along with the Child and Family Well-Being Department to strengthen partnerships with community organizations, spread awareness within Child and Family Well-Being Department and the community, and most importantly, meet the needs of families. For example, Olive Crest’s “Care Communities” brings together friends and family within churches to wrap around a family with a child in care. Care Communities ensure that the family has meals delivered, transportation to school or extracurricular activities, or other supports that help stabilize a placement.
Similarly, Restoration 225’s “Care Portal” empowers churches to meet the needs of families with a youth in care by connecting family needs directly to churches that can meet the need through an online platform. Care Portal has worked to get families beds, cribs, clothing, and other tangible supports. CFWB’s Placement Team in the East Region reached out to Restoration 225 when a sibling set was being placed with resource parents who needed transportation. Restoration 225 activated its broad network of partner churches and delivered gas cards to the family the same day.
An inspiring aspect of Faith in Motion is the way that it connects faith leaders who serve families involved in the child welfare system. These connections broaden the scope of what any organization could do on its own and helps the Child and Family Well-Being Department serve families in a more holistic way. To date, the Child and Family Well-Being Department partners with 39 faith leaders representing 28 zip codes across the county. Every region is represented, with an intentional focus on diverse populations. Catholic, Protestant, and Islamic faith traditions are included as well as open and affirming churches that support the LGBTQ+ community.
Faith in Motion continues to build momentum and seeks to continue growing partnerships with faith leaders who are interested in serving families involved in the child welfare system.