Community Members Graduate from Collaborate PASadena Neighborhood Leadership Institute

Published : Wednesday, November 29, 2017 | 2:32 PM

Collaborate PASadena Neighborhood Leadership Institute graduates include: Susana Arlette Alvarado, Lamar Anderson, Sidney Armstrong, Jeannette Benites, Marlene Benites, Marcy Borough, Marie N. Cantor, Bill Creim, Shelley De Leon, Deirdra Duncan-Gonzalez, Emily Ekshian, Lydia Idem Finkley, Lydia Foster, Stella Franco-Allen, Erica Gutierrez, Jenny Jakubiak, Riaz Khan, Natasha Mahone, Beatriz "Vivi" Martinez, Josefina Morales, Peggy Names, Lila Roberson, Marta Salgado-Niño, Treasure Sheppard, Steven Sneed, Martin Sweeney, and Brenda Zarazua.

Collaborate PASadena celebrated the graduation of nearly 30 students from its Neighborhood Leadership Institute last night, in a gathering that featured the students’ community projects and the presentation of certificates from elected officials. The graduation caps off a 10-week series of workshops tackling subjects that included: being an authentic leader; civic participation; project planning and development; cross cultural relations; conducting effective meetings; strategic planning and problem-solving; public speaking; recruiting and sustaining volunteers; and group conflict and consensus building. Each session also featured guest speakers from a wide cross-section of the community, including area elected officials, education and nonprofit leaders, law enforcement officials, and past program participants.

The program has been in existence for 17 years, run out of the City of Pasadena’s Neighborhood Connections office. When that office closed in mid-2017, the program ended, and Collaborate PASadena stepped in to save it. Collaborate PASadena’s Director, Lisa Cavelier, stated: “We saw this as a great opportunity to continue to build capacity in the community – capacity for collaboration and civic participation. The outcome has been phenomenal! The participants are even more passionate about being civically involved in Pasadena, Altadena and Sierra Madre.”

Class of 2017 participants were charged with taking on a community project in conjunction with a local nonprofit organization, government agency, or city commission. Projects included “Arts in the Pasadena Unified School District,” “Education and Prevention for Parents/PACTL,” “Homelessness and Services,” “Outward Bound Adventures,” “Who’s in the Space?” (with the Pasadena Accessibility and Disability Commission), and “Parent Engagement” (with PUSD middle schools).

With the program offered at no cost to participants, financial support was raised from generous sponsors including Bill and Claire Bogaard, Day One, Junior League of Pasadena, and Pasadena Tournament of Roses.

Additional help came from the Office of Pasadena City Councilmember Margaret McAustin. Participants in the program were recognized with certificates of congratulations from elected officials including U.S. Congresswoman Judy Chu, California State Senator Anthony Portantino, and California State Assemblymember Chris Holden, each of whom acknowledged the power of such training for strengthening community engagement.

About Collaborate PASadena

Collaborate PASadena’s shared vision is that the children of Pasadena, Altadena and Sierra Madre all grow up in a safe, stable and supportive environment that prepares them for success in school and in life. The backbone of the initiative includes the participation of the City of Pasadena, Town of Altadena, City of Sierra Madre, Pasadena Unified School District, area non-profit organizations, local businesses and Chambers of Commerce, faith-based organizations, parents, students and institutions of higher education.

Collaborate PASadena is sponsored by the City of Pasadena and the Pasadena Unified School District. The fiscal sponsor of the initiative is the Flintridge Center, a long-time Pasadena organization focused on reducing violence and improving lives in the community.

For more information about Collaborate PASadena, contact 626-714-7670, email or visit






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