Thirty people graduated from the Evanston Community Foundation’s Signature Leadership Program Thursday evening in a ceremony at the Rotary Building.

The 10-month Leadership Evanston program is designed to expose potential community leaders to the city’s diverse perspectives.

Participants examine and practice key leadership skills and work in project groups that tackle some of Evanston’s most challenging problems.

Small group projects this year included:

  • The Career Awareness and Pathway Exposure (CAPE) project providing an opportunity for D65 middle school students to begin exploring career options before entering high school.
  • The Tiny Homes project proposing creative solutions to homelessness and affordable housing issues.
  • The Accessible Mental Health “Text a Tip” project, which proposed an anonymous text message service which has had success in other communities, allowing teens to connect with professional social work services.
  • The Equity project worked on building capacity for the Books & Breakfast organization.
  • The Dear Evanston project created an online space to collect stories, interviews, art pieces and conversations for those affected by violence in Evanston.

Jennifer G. Moran, Leadership Evanston director, said, “This year, we applied Bryan Stevenson’s tenets of working successfully in community: a willingness to listen closely, get proximate to tough challenges, and create a space for possible solutions. The class projects reflected this, inspiring collective purpose and willingness to collaborate.”

The graduates include: Fabiola Alfonso, YWCA Evanston/North Shore; Jennifer Arrington, North Shore Yoga; Brina Auguste, clinical social work; Karena Bierman, Rotary International; Melissa Blount, psychologist; Juliet Bond, Literature for All of Us; Joan Casey, NorthShore University HealthSystem; Porschia Davis, City of Evanston; Elizabeth Feiertag, Mudlark Theater; Nicholas Gehl, Evanston Township High School; Linda Gerber, retired journalist; Josh Gilbert, Temperance Beer Company; Toni Goerhing, Cherry Preschool; Bobbi Goldman, Have Dreams; Willie Gregory, Phd candidate; James Hagedorn, Bramer Animal Hospital.

TeeNeka Jones-Gueye, Infant Welfare Society; Nina Kavin, activist; Dennis Leaks, Evanston Police Department; Aimee Long, Allowance for Good; Tracy Lawson McKeithen, Family Promise Chicago North Shore; Karen McLeod, Rotary International; Amy Monday, Evanston Community Foundation; Ismalis Nuñez, Evanston/Skokie District 65; Kathy Shaw, community volunteer; Abigayle Shay, Northwestern University; Sandra Smith, Evanston Public Library; Mitchell Smith, Ebenezer Primm Towers; Hannah Steinman, Youth Opportunities United (Y.O.U.); Cynthia Wilson, Garrett Theological Seminary

Applications are being accepted for the 25th class of Leadership Evanston now through mid-August. Individuals from all neighborhoods and sectors in Evanston are encouraged to participate. Payment plans and scholarships are available. For information or an application visit evanstonforever.org,

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