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The CommUnity Leadership Institute (CLI) prepares high school youth to be leaders for diversity and justice in their schools and communities.

The CommUnity Leadership Institute (CLI) 2020

is Cancelled due to COVID-19

The realities of continued physical distancing means that we must cancel our June IEE and July CLI programs. This was an extremely difficult decision to make because of how important these programs are in advancing social justice in our communities. The loss of these programs this summer will be felt by those of us who work so hard to make them happen and our communities who struggle with both old and new inequities in the face of COVID-19. However, our first priority is to ensure the health and safety of our participants, volunteers, and staff.


CLI and IEE will not happen this summer, but our work to foster a more equitable and inclusive Central Coast is NOT paused. 

The CommUnity Leadership Institute (CLI) Experience

As soon as you get to CLI, you meet teens from all over the Central Coast. The first few days are spent having fun and getting to know one another. What starts off as a random group of teens soon becomes a tight-knit community.


As the week goes on, the CLI experience goes deeper. You participate in dialogues, interactive activities, and workgroups to learn about issues related to racism, sexism, homophobia, classism, and other injustices that affect our lives and communities.


Meanwhile, you will also be gaining tools for action. The CLI staff will help you create an action plan to make your school or community the kind of place you want it to be. After CLI, you get to implement your plans. Just Communities will give you support, and connect you with others, to help make your vision a reality.


Yet, even as you are doing important work throughout the week, everyone is having lots of fun! There are opportunities for swimming, sports, crafts, poetry, music, and dance. You will leave CLI with a new set of friends, and an awesome life experience!

What Are Some Benefits of CLI?

Diversity awareness & people skills

Community organizing training

Leadership experience for job &
college applications

Community service credits (48 hours)

A network of friends on the Central Coast

Connections to school and community leaders

Personal growth & self-awareness


What Have Some CLI Grads Gone On To Do?

Started 10 diversity & social justice clubs in Central Coast high schools, colleges, and communities

Launched youth committees of local social justice nonprofits

Started 11 Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) in Santa Barbara & Ventura County high schools

Held Forum on Gang & Youth Violence 

Helped ban bullying language against indigenous youth in Oxnard high schools

Organized for immigrant rights and marriage equality

Served on local nonprofit Boards of Directors

What CLI grads say...

“CLI has made me feel like a stronger person. Like my own voice, if used loudly, can make a difference.”

- CLI Graduate, Dos Pueblos High School

“It feels like I’ve come to a whole new level of enlightenment. I feel like before I came, I had already been passionate about social justice issues, but now there are things to change.”
- 10th grader, Santa Barbara High School

“This is the best camp ever! We learn so much and get to work with an awesome staff. This has been the greatest experience of my life.” 
- 11th grader, Pioneer Valley High School

What Parents & Families Should Know

CLI helps youth:


  • Develop self-confidence and good character

  • Resist social pressures & be positive role models

  • Develop skills for school, college & future careers

What Educators Should Know

CLI helps students:


  • Resist social pressures & be positive role models

  • Take on campus leadership roles

  • Reduce bullying, harassment, & conduct issues

  • Challenge themselves to achieve more academically

For more information about the CommUnity Leadership Institute please email or call or 805-966-2063.

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