4 years of change-making ?

Have you ever noticed a problem in your neighborhood — a faulty sidewalk, a dangerous intersection, a poorly-designed street — but were unsure what to do about it? Our Advocate Academy, now going into its 5th year, helps people like you find their voice and become leaders in the community. And this year, we’re partnering with Groundwork Center for Resilience and TART Trails to offer even more zing.

To inspire others to dive into the academy, we asked a few alumni from the four previous years what they carried with them from their experience.

John Plough, 2020

“Advocate Academy reminded me that there are amazing people everywhere, that I have the agency to affect change locally, and that coalition building is incredibly powerful.”

Jennifer Yeatts, 2018

“As a full-time bike commuter, I realize I’m in the minority when it comes to how I get around town, but I want to make sure my voice is heard.”

Craig Wood, 2021

“We recently created an active mobility advocacy group in Livingston County, GoLivCo. The building blocks provided by the Norte Advocate Academy have been very valuable to our efforts.”

Mary Mantei, 2018

“Advocacy is an opportunity to be a voice for what you believe should and could change in the community and beyond. It is an opportunity to be a voice for yourself and others.”

Rick Venner, 2020

“I have participated in many opportunities to give feedback on the projects around town. As a result, I am better prepared to have an intelligent dialogue with various points of view.”

Shea O’Brien, 2019

“Most of all, you’ll build a community of like-minded advocates that you can lean on and work with to improve our region.”

Janna Goethel, 2021

“Advocate Academy is an empowering program that teaches citizens how to dream up solutions to problems in their community. “

Clint Schlegel, 2021

“Expect to broaden your understanding of what it takes to create and advocate for a pedestrian-friendly community.”


Join the nearly 50 academy alumni! Advocate Academy is online this year, starting Thursday, February 17. The 90-minute classes meet weekly for six weeks, from 5:30 pm – 7 pm. Registration is $45 with scholarships available. 


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