Cleveland leadership program seeks applicants
In 2006, the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation, along with then-Cleveland Mayor Michael White, established a leadership training program for engaged neighborhood leaders. The Neighborhood Leadership Development Program (NLDP) is a free, 15-session community engagement training program for residents of Cleveland and its inner-ring suburbs who are working on projects within the City of Cleveland and who are determined to make a positive impact on their communities.
Through an application process, 20 committed individuals are chosen for the program year. NLDP participants and graduates have many interests and are working on a variety of approaches to improving life in their communities. The NLDP is now seeking applicants for its next training sessions, which begin on Aug. 29.
Orlando Boyd of Cleveland Heights is a recent NLDP graduate. He founded the Labyrinthian Egress Organization, which served adolescents who were close to aging out of, or who had already aged out of, the foster care system, and were no longer eligible for services. The organization helped them identify benefits they were entitled to and provided creative ways to approach life after foster care through the development of life skills, coaching, and positive expression through the arts. The organization’s ultimate goal was to provide participants with the ability to recognize their gifts and talents, identify appropriate routes to accomplishing their goals and develop a commitment to becoming a greater asset to society. Boyd also has a passion to help the fatherless, primarily males, build self-esteem and self-awareness.
Currently, he is providing services to young people, 20 and older. He runs smaller, more interactive sessions designed to build a sense of self-worth, leading the youths to understand that they are “bold and courageous enough to face the challenges in their lives.”
Boyd credits NLDP with providing him with many skills useful in his work with youth. “NLDP taught me to appreciate the value of my and others’ time. I learned an appreciation for the differences that people bring to the table, the value of facilitation techniques, and how to let ideas grow organically and take form. It was also priceless for me to learn to see life through an equity lens. I was able to learn from the experiences of other community leaders in my group, to see how they met challenges in their lives and work. There is tenacity on the part of those involved in NLDP to make sure the experience is the best for all participants.”
The 15 sessions take place on Saturdays at Trinity Commons, 2230 Euclid Ave., beginning Aug. 29. The deadline for applications is Aug. 5. For more information and an application, visit www.nldpcleveland.com or call 216-776-6172.
Sandra Kluk, a 30-year Heights resident, is the program administrator for the Neighborhood Leadership Development Program.