Kyle Coulom wanted to learn more about Charlotte and find out how he could get involved and make an impact in his community. So, when he heard about the Civic Leadership Academy (CLA) during a Charlotte Business Alliance Young Professionals event, he decided to jump at the opportunity.
The CLA is a free program for Charlotteans who are ready to take the next step as community leaders and work towards improving the quality of life in all of Charlotte's neighborhoods. During the CLA, participants receive a personalized leadership assessment, learn how to efficiently use their leadership style to positively impact the community, enhance their understanding of Charlotte history and culture, develop relationships with other leaders in the community and local government, learn to navigate issues through local government, and commit to using their leadership skills in the broader community.
Kyle especially appreciated learning more about the City's budget process. "Seeing the breakdown of how the city budget is allocated and what departments/services are prioritized was very eye-opening and informative," he said.
He also emphasized how the program helped him learn not only what resources are available, but also how to access them. "I think the most valuable things I learned through CLA were the resources I have as a Charlotte and Mecklenburg County resident and where to access those resources. Going through the various departments and resources on the website was extremely helpful," he continued.
One of the reasons Kyle wanted to participate in the program was to become more civically engaged, and he has taken that next step – he was recently appointed to the Keep Charlotte Beautiful board. "I felt [joining the board] is a way to get involved in my community, and, most importantly to me, in a way that has immediate impact and tangible results. The environment is a very important issue for me, and this KCB Board helps make a significant and direct impact in improving our environment," he said.
"I live on the west side of Charlotte, and part of the reason I love living here is the sense of community and love for your neighbor. I look forward to working with organizations in this area to help get their engagement and involvement with KCB's Adopt a Street program and other volunteer opportunities," he said.
Applications for the next round of the Civic Leadership Academy are open until August 1, 2021. The Fall 2021 CLA will be held virtually – participants must commit to missing no more than three sessions. To review the workshop schedule or to apply, click here.
Whether you want to learn more about how the city operates or if you want to find out how you can get more involved, the CLA offers that opportunity. "Some people may want to simply learn more about their community, services and operations, while others want to learn more about how they can get involved," Kyle said.
Applications must be received by August 1, and sessions begin September 21. For additional information, contact Philip Freeman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 704-336-1303.