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Future Leaders Rising

Linking young people's creative drive to school success, high school graduation, and a focus on college and career.


Future Leaders Rising (FLR) is SBCC's youth development program, developed through the support of the Everychild Foundation's multi-year grant underwriting the Everychild Youth Pathway Initiative. FLR focuses on building positive peer communities, developing leadership, and creating multiple bridges between high school, college and career through artistic and cultural disciplines. Designed as a two-year experience bridging high school and the transition to college and career, FLR participants begin in their junior year (or continuation school/GED program equivalent) with a process of peer network-building, relationship development, and leadership skills-building. This intensive relationship-building and character development sequence takes place over 12 weeks during the fall semester. Adapting aspects of SBCC's Relationship-Based Community Organizing strategy, each group meets in 2-hour sessions, 3 times per week for consensus-based discussion and facilitated workshops working on:

  • Group identity Sense of team and community
  • Agreements around mutual support toward educational and career goals
  • Resource- and relationship-sharing
  • Agreement on core values and goals


These workshops are integrated within a curriculum that contextualizes this relationship-building work within artistic and cultural disciplines, technical and academic skills, and educational/career goals that characterize the program. These include:

  • Introduction to artistic/cultural disciplines including visual art, theater/performance/dance, creative writing, and digital storytelling
  • Individual and group projects in each discipline with instruction provided by SBCC staff in collaboration with visiting artists, and targeting core skills to be developed in the spring semester, summer, and senior-year experience
  • Field trips to cultural and educational institutions tied to each discipline, with a focus on connecting participants to individuals and organizations representative of careers linked to a creative skill set. Special emphasis is placed on connecting with individuals and organizations representing not only direct application of these skills (e.g., working artists and designers, theater directors, etc.), but “unanticipated” links to education and career to broaden participants' sense of the applicability of their creative skills (e.g., an engineer who applies draftsmanship skills acquired in artistic practice, an arts administrator or staff at a youth arts nonprofit, educators, web designers and game programmers, etc.)
  • Selection at the end of the 12-week process of a particular discipline on which to focus for the remainder of the junior-year experience

This junior-year experience will be followed by a summer and senior-year experience further developing academic skills contextualized for the artistic disciplines selected by participants, leading to completion of college coursework aligned with employer-recognized certificates and accredited degree programs. Senior-year participants will be paired with industry and/or higher education mentors, and will in turn serve as mentors for incoming junior-year participants.