THE CULTURAL LEADERSHIP EXPERIENCE
Ignite Change, Build Bridges, Be the Future
The fight against systemic injustice begins with informed and passionate individuals. Welcome to LEAD STL's Cultural Leadership Experience, where high school students transform into the civic leaders and social justice changemakers of tomorrow. As our lead facilitator often reminds us, “The best friend of oppression is silence.” Here, we don't just talk about social justice—we act on it.
We delve deep into history, take field trips to places steeped in cultural importance, and meet the change agents who hand us the baton. In other words, we're training the next generation of civil rights activists, whom we fondly dub “troublemakers of the best kind!”
How Does the Program Work?
Our Cultural Leadership Experience offers an intense and enriching year-long curriculum, spanning over 420 hours from January to October. The program encompasses:
- Cultural activities
- Public speaking and leadership training
- Educational travel
- Workshops on systemic injustice
Through these experiences, students explore the rich tapestry of their own and each other's histories, religions, and cultures. They gain insights into how systems of oppression are built and function, acquiring the tools and support they need to dismantle these structures in their communities.
Breaking the Barriers
St. Louis is notorious for its neighborhood, school district, and socioeconomic segregation. At LEAD STL, we intentionally challenge this status quo by curating our cohorts from a diverse cross-section of zip codes and school districts. The relationships formed within these diverse groups serve as the bedrock for healing the deep-rooted divisions that plague our city.
Highlights of the Year
Sunday Programs and Weekend-Long Retreats
About once a month, the "village" convenes for team-building, bonding, and knowledge-sharing. Industry experts give talks and facilitate workshops on topics like African American history, Jewish culture, racism, antisemitism, and much more.
Students immerse themselves in a school setting different from their own to understand education inequity firsthand. This eye-opening experience challenges their perspectives and encourages meaningful dialogue with administrators and peers alike.
In a true spirit of cross-cultural exchange, Jewish students host a Passover Seder for their non-Jewish classmates, and vice-versa during Christian holidays like Palm Sunday or Easter. Students from other religious backgrounds are also encouraged to share their traditions.
The Transformational Journey
For three transformative weeks in June, students travel through various U.S. cities significant to social justice and the Civil Rights Movement. Nightly discussions with adult leaders help internalize the day's learnings.
Sound Amazing? Apply beginning April 1, 2024
If you're a high school sophomore or junior living in the Greater St. Louis Metropolitan Area, you're eligible for our Class 20, beginning December '24.
**For more information, contact:**
Director of Core Programs
Become a part of the change. Join the Cultural Leadership Experience today.