The Evanston Community Foundation held graduation ceremonies Thursday for its 26th annual class of Leadership Evanston volunteers at the Red Hot Chili Pepper restaurant, 500 Davis St.

Leadership Evanston Director Jennifer G. Moran says the group “found a collective voice for advocacy.”

She said the program encourages active listening and resulted in five project teams highlighting the challenges for Evanston’s youth.

This year’s graduates include:

Susan Marshall Abraham, community volunteer; Kelli-Ann Alcott, Youth & Opportunity United, Inc.; Carole Christensen Bass, community volunteer; Ashley Brandt, Goldstein & McClintock LLLP; Karli Butler, Curt’s Café; Teri Campbell, Evanston Public Library; Savannah Clement, City of Evanston; Lori Coombs, Evanston Township High School; Brandi Crawford, Youth Job Center.

Linda Del Bosque, Evanston Woman Magazine; Jean Fies, community volunteer; Ellen Frolichstein, Institute for the Therapy Through the Arts; Steven Frost, Evanston/Skokie School District 65; David Graham, Sidley Austin LLP; Chantell Johnson, MacArthur Foundation; Natalie Joy, Evanston Work Ethic Program; Laurie McCall Kaplan, Evanston Work Ethic Program; Lisa Levin, McGaw YMCA; Lesly Levitas, community volunteer.

Murphy Monroe, The Actors Gymnasium; Mireya Morales, Rotary International; Michael Moran, Anonymous Architects; Joi-Anissa Russell, The James B. Moran Center for Youth Advocacy; David Servillo, Gene Servillo Consulting; Rebecca Slenk, McGaw YMCA Children’s Center; Rosa Ines Sriver, Chicago Public Schools; David Stone, Northwestern University; and Bryant Wallace, Chessmen Club of The North Shore.

The team projects this year included opportunities for youth, the connections between philanthropy and public funding, restorative justice practices, storytelling and reconciliation and an investigation of how to be a trauma informed community.

The community foundation started its Leadership Evanston program in 1992 to provide Evanston with skilled and knowledgeable individuals who take responsibility for the community and its future.

More than 720 people have participated in the program and 80 percent of them still live or work in Evanston.

Moran says participants gain a deep and broad knowledge of Evanston’s diverse perspectives, institutions, and communities; examine and practice key community leadership skills, and build a network to work together toward a just, vibrant, and inclusive community.

Applications are being accepted for the 27th Leadershio Evanston class now through mid-August. Individuals who live or work in Evanston are encouraged to participate. The program seeks to include people from all neighborhoods, interests, and sectors. Payment plans and scholarships are available.

For information or an application, visit evanstonforever.org or contact Director Jennifer Moran at moran@evanstonforever.org or 847-492-0990.

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