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Since 2015, the Virginia Civic Engagement Table (VCET) has hosted its leadership development series — the Virginia Progressive Leadership Project (VAPLP). VAPLP is a four-month experiential learning & training program that provides community leaders and organizers the knowledge, skills, and connections they need to strengthen their work in advancing equity & social justice in Virginia.
VAPLP combines workshops and community-building sessions in a small group setting with a one-on-one mentorship component to help you develop an action plan for this year and beyond. You can look forward to interactive workshops, resources & tools, and a community of support. At the foundation of the program is the value of relationships, group-centered process, and a liberatory praxis (cycle of education, reflection, & action). The result is a dynamic experience combining learning in workshops with opportunities to foster connections with community leaders & organizers across the social & progressive ecosystem in Virginia.
Participants who attend the program engage in four weekend-long trainings, each with its own area of focus: reflection & community-building, storytelling, organizing, & fundraising.
Participants will engage in individual reflection within a social change ecosystem, individual & collective values, and build the pod community.
Largely adapted from the work of Marshall Gantz, participants will learn to build their own public narrative and how to connect that to people, communities, and issues.
Alongside the Organizing Center, participants will learn to increase their collective power to transform themselves and their communities toward lasting social change.
Because we center leaders who traditionally do not have access to intergenerational wealth, we reflect on unpacking our relationship with money and build to learning how to raise money from existing communities and networks.
Participants are also matched with a mentor who supports their action plan development and goals with virtual check-ins throughout the program and afterwards. Meet our mentors here.
At the core of VAPLP is community & relationships. Each class of participants, or “pod” (previously “cohorts”) is a source of support & care and accomplices for each other. Pods (and pod-mapping) were developed by Mia Mingus and the Bay Area Transformative Justice Collective as tools designed for community-based responses to harm. Pods have since expanded to refer to the community that we can call upon in times where support is needed, which is what we hope each group of participants can be to each other during the program itself but most especially afterwards.
The Virginia Progressive Leadership Project strives to create an inclusive and respectful space for all participants. To do that, we have incorporated several ways to increase accessibility, including no-cost attendance, travel reimbursement, language interpreters, all-gender restrooms, physical and emotional accessibility resources, mobility access, sensory/quiet rooms, printed participant guides with visual aids, fragrance-free spaces, and more. We aim to ensure accessibility is not a barrier or determining factor for folx to attend.
On-site services and at-home stipends are available upon request in the application.
Participants are required to travel to the sites on their own. Participants will have the option to select a transportation stipend or mileage/transportation reimbursement to cover the cost of travel upon acceptance to the program. The transportation stipend will be calculated based on each person’s home address and the federal mileage reimbursement rate. For participants without a vehicle, there will be a carpool signup for any travel during the program days itself.
We don’t assume that we know all access needs, so we invite participants to communicate what our access needs are, in hopes that we can all support and meet those needs. Each day during the program, participants will start by sharing any access needs. These can be that we need to be warm or we’re in pain, that we need information given to us in this way or that, that we’re feeling tired so can’t walk much, etc.
We know this isn’t a comprehensive list of accessibility options and needs. As we build this community of care, we welcome folx to share any access needs – please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Each participant must attend all weekends and participate in the entire duration of the weekends to successfully complete the program. Only participants who attend the full program will be eligible for graduation and access to continued mentorship + alumni support.