Democracy is a verb.


Neighborhood Leadership Initiative

The Neighborhood Leadership Initiative (NLI) works to create a youth voice in local decision-making, intensive mentoring and support for opportunity youth, and an exploration of racial and gender equity issues in Chicago.

What We Do
  • Train young men and women to serve as youth policymakers and leaders to the local community
  • New City: Council of 30 young Men ages 14-16
  • North Lawndale: Mixed Gender council of 30 young people ages 14-16
  • Rogers Park: Mixed gender council with students that represent 3 different continents

Fall and Spring 2017-2018 Focus:

  • Leadership development, root cause analysis of violence, asset mapping and exploration of identity
  • Participate with local Alderman to create youth-led participatory budgeting projects
  • Leadership Cafes – youth and community stakeholders come together to have dialogue on issues impacting their community
What Youth Learn From the Program
  • Strategies for youth/adult engagement and community problem solving
  • Multiple approaches for addressing root causes of violence
  • Integration of youth voice and youth expertise
  • Strategies to successfully collaborate with peers and build a safe supportive environment
  • How to identify an issue, conduct research, build support, and take ACTION

Please contact if you would like more information about the Neighborhood Leadership Initiative.


of Mikva alumni are registered voters, vs. only 53% of 18-29 yr. olds nationwide


of Mikva alumni continue to volunteer in their communities, vs. only 36% of 18-29 yr. olds nationwide


teachers participate in Mikva Challenge programs across the country.


students from 117 schools nationwide presented speeches and/or worked on civic action projects


of Mikva alumni encourage their friends and family to be politically engaged, vs. only 35% of 18-29 yr. olds nationwide


Mikva students serve as election judges each election cycle


students campaigned during the 2015-16 Election Season


young people served in the Chicagoland area, California and Washington DC

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Chicago, IL 60604
(312) 863-6340

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Los Angeles, CA 90034
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