The La Luz Center is beginning the second year of its Latino Leadership Program and seeking applications from new members. The deadline to apply for its new September class is Aug. 17.

The program supports young professionals seeking to enhance their leadership skills and give back to the community.

The Latino Leadership Program is offered by La Luz Center in collaboration with local leadership training experts Jeni Nichols, Daren Blonski and Holly Seaton

This year’s course kicks off with a workshop on Sept. 15 and 16.

After candidate interviews, 15 to 20 participants will be selected for the September through March course. According to a press release from La Luz, group classes are held monthly and each participant works independently on a project with a chosen mentor. Fourteen mentors have already signed up for the new program. Instructors for the new class program include Veronica Vences, La Luz Center associate executive director. Vences will provide cultural perspective for the course work, as well as coaching support for the participants.

Last year, 15 applicants were selected for the inaugural program. The monthly

classes that began in September of last year were interrupted during the North Bay wildfires, but resumed quickly thereafter. In May, class work was completed and recognized with a graduation celebration.

“The Latino Leadership Program has given me the courage and confidence to renew my passion for teaching and the help the community at the same time”, said Latino Leadership graduate Christina Ruiz in the press release.

To meet the whole class, see their projects and hear their comments, view www.laluzcenter.org/leadership-program.html.

The 2017-18 class will also start an alumni group and they plan to identify and implement an annual project to give back to the Sonoma Valley community.

The leadership training curriculum is a collaboration between La Luz Center, along with Nichols, Blonski and Seaton, and utilizes Leadership Challenge assessment and coursework from FlashPoint Leadership Consulting group in Sonoma.

Mentorship and community project work are key elements of the program, according to La Luz. With the help of Nichols and the La Luz staff, all participants select a local mentor from a nonprofit organization and initiate a community project related to the nonprofit organization’s work.

“We build mentoring into the program so that the participants have the support, guidance and encouragement to ensure successful completion of their leadership experience in the community” said Nichols in the release.

For more information or to apply for the September class, contact Veronica Vences, associate executive director at La Luz Center, at 938-5131 or veronica@lalucenter.org.