About the GEAR UP Alumni Leadership Academy (GUALA)
The GEAR UP Alumni Leadership Academy (GUALA) is a new initiative launched by the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships with support from the national GEAR UP community and funding from The Kresge Foundation.
The GUALA is a 12-month program designed to train and engage GEAR UP alumni in advocacy and leadership, and work toward creating positive change in education policy for their younger peers. The GUALA will select 30 GEAR UP Alumni Leaders annually from across the country and grow the program to one per state over time.
The GEAR UP Alumni Leaders will share personal experiences about the challenges of preparing for, applying to, and affording college. They will educate lawmakers about the importance and value of GEAR UP. GEAR UP Alumni Leaders will also articulate how the federal investment in them – an average of $2,400 per student or $400 per year over 6 years – will be returned to the community over the student’s lifetime by earning a livable wage, paying increased taxes, strengthened citizen engagement, and better public health. Alumni Leaders will build their confidence and skills, and harness their leadership potential to become empowered, community-centered citizens.
The GUALA program year will run from May 2014 to May 2015 and will focus on four key leadership skills in advocacy development:
- Peer Outreach: To understand the power of peer influence and mobilize peers for action and outcomes.
- Social Media Activism: To employ the tools available and use them as a vehicle for change with peers and other circles of influence.
- Public Speaking: To share student stories in an effective and non-exploitive way that is tailored to specific audiences (lawmakers, parents, current students).
- Issue Advocacy: To apply newly acquired advocacy skills in direct ways through Capitol Hill and District visits to elected officials, responding to and initiating calls to action, and leading a Hill briefing.