school programs

We believe that when we prepare young people to speak passionately and articulately about their experiences, they can use their voices to advocate for a healthy community


Leaders That Listen

“To deny students their own expert knowledge is to disempower them.” – Lisa Delpit

High-quality communication coaching in school helps more students have access to experiences that help them advocate, communicate, build stronger human connections, and inspire community action.

The Leaders That Listen program is a year-long youth leadership initiative for schools and districts. This initiative provides programming and multimedia toolkits to help middle and high school students develop the public speaking, communication, and research skills they need to become effective advocates and collaborative leaders.

What do students learn?

  • Advocating for a position
  • Interviewing peers and adults
  • Listening and becoming effective spokespeople
  • Empathizing with diverse perspectives
  • Facilitating productive conversations
  • Communicating youth perspectives in an authentic and powerful way
  • Engaging and connecting with school leaders and community allies

By the end of the program, youth leaders apply communication techniques to advocate for equity, tell their stories, engage with community leaders, collaborate with adults, effectively represent their peers, and communicate their findings through public showcase events, school board meetings, community forums, and youth-led action projects.

Current Leaders That Listen Partners:

  • West Contra Costa Unified School District
  • Davis Joint Unified District
  • Vallejo City Unified District

This program is made possible by the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation

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