Engaged Citizens. Innovative Ideas.


WHAT is this program: This *FREE* multidisciplinary neighborhood leadership development program is designed for individuals enthusiastic about positively contributing to the community in which they live, work and play. Participants not only develop leadership skills and gain knowledge and tools to help make their community strong, safe and vibrant, but also build life-long relationships through this cohort-model program.  Since the program began in 2015, we’ve proudly graduated a diverse group of 104 Heights change-agents.

WHO should apply: Cleveland Heights and University Heights residents or stakeholders who not only care about their neighborhood but want to gain skills and resources to take action right where they live.  We especially encourage anyone who is interested in working on a project seeking a FutureHeights Neighborhood Mini-Grant to participate in our leadership workshop series, though that is not a requirement to qualify for the mini-grant program.

WHEN is it happening: The 2024 dates are January 28, February 11, February 25, March 10, and March 24. All sessions take place on Sundays from 3pm-6pm. Participants must commit to attending all five sessions in order to be accepted into the program.

WHERE is it happening: Our workshop sessions take place at FutureHeights, located in the Coventry P.E.A.C.E. building (2843 Washington Blvd.)

You should consider applying if…..

If you said YES to any of that, you should apply!

Applications are now closed for the 2024 cohort.

We expect that applications for the 2025 cohort will open in September 2024.

If you are unable to fill out an electronic version of the application or if there any are other potential barriers to your attendance or any special accommodations you might need, please let us know so we can work with you to find a solution.

Any additional questions, reach out to Sarah – swolf@futureheights.org.



Some program feedback from the 2023 NLWS cohort:

“All of the workshop facilitators were amazing – very engaging and were good at bringing their energy to the group which led to a deeper dive into some of the topics covered.”

“Great place to learn about the city, its resources, neighborhoods, and history of activism.”

“The program was fantastic! I have already recommended that a friend join the next cohort.”

“The facilitators that were chosen helped to deliver the content in a way that made these sessions enjoyable.”

“For me, it’s hard to be in a sitting environment for three hours without getting ‘bored.’ That was not the case with these sessions. The breakout groups were well thought out (in my opinion) and gave us a chance to ‘network’ with others.”

“Before this workshop series, I never thought of myself as a leader. I was hesitant to even apply since I am shy and often struggle in social situations. I did not feel like I had a lot to offer the cohort. The workshop series helped me see that leadership skills and styles are diverse and fluid. There are certain aspects and concepts, such as service leadership and asset-based community development, that I would like to build upon and continue to explore as I continue on my journey. It was incredibly meaningful to be surrounded by people who value difference and are willing to uplift you and help you learn and grow as a person.”


About our recent program graduates…

  • Spring 2020 had 15 graduates representing 12 different neighborhoods.  9 of the graduates are in known community leadership roles. 
  • Fall 2021 had 6 graduates representing 5 different neighborhoods.  5 of the graduates are in known community leadership roles. (This program ran “off-season,” thus the lower enrollment number — but what a fantastic cohort of incredible leaders!)
  • Spring 2022 had 11 graduates representing 6 neighborhoods. 10 of the graduates are in known community leadership roles.
  • Spring 2023 had 13 graduates representing 9 neighborhoods. 10 of the graduates are in known community leadership roles.

The NLWS Alumni Association…

In Spring 2022, the NLWS Leadership Alumni Association began!  33 previous program graduates are currently participating in our quarterly meetups, which happen in February, May, August, and November — or whenever an alumni member suggests an activity or a spot to meetup!

While Sarah helps to facilitate this group, the group members are the true leaders of what the Alumni Association does.  It’s a great opportunity to do some skill-share, community-building, idea swapping, and have some good old fashioned conversation.

Group members can opt to be part of a private Facebook Group and email list to keep in touch in between meetups.

A few NLWS Alums at Millikin Playground


HELP US KEEP NLWS FREE!  Become a FutureHeights Supporter here.


Any questions about the program or the alumni association, please connect with Sarah at swolf@futureheights.org.