News // June 03, 2014

Building Passionate Communities in Mountain Empire

“Backcountry Residents Taking Action” is the slogan for the new graduates of the Mountain Empire Resident Leadership Academy (RLA). Community members in Mountain Empire are utilizing the RLA to gain knowledge and skills to enable them to bring about positive changes to their neighborhoods.

Eight Mountain Empire residents from Boulevard, Campo, Lake Morena, and Jacumba committed to a 10-week course facilitated by Mountain Empire resident and SANDAG Outreach Coordinator, Jennifer Inman. Each week the residents focused on a variety of health topics that give emphasis to community-building principles, leadership and management practices, and skills for creating healthy and livable communities.

“Our goal is to empower San Diego residents to strive for positive change within their neighborhoods to better their health and the health for future residents,” stated Inman.

Each participant creates and implements a community improvement activity for his area.

On Thursday, May 15, 2014, the Mountain Empire RLA hosted their graduation with representation from the County of San Diego Sheriff’s Department and Health and Human Services Agency, along with Mountain Health and Community Services and Senator Joel Anderson’s office. At their graduation, the RLA graduates presented on their community improvement projects. These projects included the creation of a youth engagement curriculum in Mountain Empire Unified School District, joint use agreements, road safety, and waste management.

"The Resident Leadership Academies are designed to help community residents learn how to become advocates in their community and empower them to make changes that build healthy, safe and thriving neighborhoods,” said Marie Brown-Mercadel, County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency East and North Central Regions Deputy Director.  “These residents are the heart of our work and true partners in supporting the Live Well San Diego initiative, an effort that touches the lives of each of San Diego County’s 3.1 million residents.”

Mountain Empire is one of ten communities in San Diego’s Rural Areas. It is the southeastern-most community of the East Region of San Diego County, sharing borders with both Mexico and Imperial County.

Visit the Resident Leadership Academies page to learn more about RLAs and how to get involved.