Reflections on the Community Leadership Institute

Palm Health Foundation’s AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteer in Service to America), Cassidy Heitman, had the opportunity to participate in Community Leadership Institute, a three-day training event that aims to strengthen the voices and skills of community, resident and volunteer leaders.

Participants from around the world attended in small teams, participated in a full range of courses and each created an action plan for making positive change in their community.

Cassidy shares her reflections on her experience: 


The Florida Community Leadership Institute Conference was held on November 7-8 in Tampa, FL at the beautiful bayside Tampa Marriot Water Street Hotel. The conference was presented in collaboration through Neighborhood Works America, a national community development nonprofit, and Community Partners of South Florida, a local nonprofit providing community and service-based solutions for south Florida residents. The workshops focused on supporting and mobilizing Florida community-based leadership. Topics varied from providing lessons learned in community building, practices for creating sustainable programs, to developing leaderships skills.

I was fortunate to attend the CLI conference through serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA at the Palm Health Foundation. One of the first things I noticed was the high sense of energy that came from the conference participants; everyone was ready to learn and share skills and lessons to better their communities. The participants came from all throughout Florida and were a variety of ages with some being as young as high school students. Seeing the eagerness in the eyes of the youth participants to return home and put their newfound knowledge to action was one of my favorite parts of the conference. I am excited to see how Florida resident leaders as a whole will take their passion and use their new skills to strengthen their communities.  I know that for myself, I found the workshop about facilitating community conversations to be enlightening and something I could bring to my current work.