Community Development Block Grant
Success Stories

Long Beach, CA - Mayor Beverly O'Neill

Neighborhood Leadership Program

The Neighborhood Leadership Program is designed to empower residents of Long Beach, especially those in low-income neighborhoods, to take leadership roles and make positive changes in their communities. By combining classroom education and experiential learning, it offers residents the technical training and financial support needed to make a difference in their communities. Curriculum components include cultural sensitivity, leadership principles, grant writing, public speaking, training in how to access City and community resources, and effective neighborhood organizing.

Emphasis is placed on providing information on the CDBG-funded programs and services which are available to program participants to help them revitalize their neighborhoods. Every participant must complete a neighborhood improvement project, and CDBG funds provide important support for these projects.

The Program is offered in English, Spanish and Khmer (Cambodian) to encourage participation by residents with limited English-speaking ability. Program graduates, representative of the multi-cultural, multi-ethnic character of Long Beach, have assumed leadership roles throughout the City, serving, for example, as members of the Parks and Recreation Commission and the Community Development Advisory Commission, and as presidents of neighborhood and community associations. One of the graduates from the Program's first class serves as the City's Neighborhood Resource Officer, and one of the recent graduates was just elected to the City Council. Another received national attention for developing a Mothers Brigade which recruits and trains non-English speaking mothers for a neighborhood safety patrol. In the neighborhoods, other graduates have organized youth tutoring and sports programs, created a youth leadership class, implemented a storefront community policing facility, and organized dozens of clean-up, improvement and beautification projects.

The Neighborhood Leadership Program is a collaborative effort of the City and the National Association of Neighborhoods, the National Conference for Community and Justice, CORO Southern California, and Leadership Long Beach. Each organization has received CDBG funding to assist the City's Neighborhood Services Bureau in the design of the Program and the training of the participants.

This year, the City has 32 residents participating in its sixth leadership class. A total of 88 residents have graduated from the Program since its introduction.

Contact: Dennis J. Thys, Neighborhood Services Bureau Manager, (562) 570-6066

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The United States Conference of Mayors

J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
1620 Eye Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006
Telephone (202) 293-7330, FAX (202) 293-2352

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