Last week, I had the honor of attending the graduation ceremony for the City of Escondido’s Neighborhood Leadership Program. 20 graduates received certificates and can now count themselves among the 150 alumni of this important program.

The eight-week Neighborhood Leadership Program is offered free of charge by the City’s Neighborhood Services Division, in partnership with Community Housing Works. Participants range in age from teens to grandparents, all with the common goal of wanting to gain leadership skills and make their neighborhoods better places to live.

We are all very busy, and it’s not easy to commit to volunteering our time. However, the investment of time into this program has achieved overwhelmingly positive results in our neighborhoods, and graduates set positive examples for their younger siblings, children and grandchildren.

The program teaches participants how to  identify their existing talents and resources to create positive change in their community, how to strengthen interpersonal communication skills and how to effectively use technology as a practical and innovative tool to communicate and connect with people. In addition, they develop lasting friendships with their fellow participants.

The Neighborhood Leadership Program is held annually each September. If you are interested in the program, contact the City of Escondido’s Neighborhood Services Division (760) 839-4057.