A 10-month, part-time training program and networking opportunity for people who seek to learn and collaborate with others to make positive change in their neighborhood.

The current Next Neighborhood Leaders program is open to those who work, live, or want to contribute to positive change in Coro partner communities of McKees Rocks and Stowe Township.

By participating in NEXT Leaders, you will:

  • Get to know others who are passionate about making positive change in your community
  • Meet other emerging leaders from your community and collaborate on a project
  • Participate in leadership training with peers from another community and learn from their experience
  • Explore challenges and opportunities facing your community
  • Receive mentoring and support while taking action to create positive community change
  • Learn to build strong teams by leveraging people’s strengths
  • Hone your skills in group facilitation

NEXT Neighborhood Leaders develops the people and the networks that create positive change in Coro’s partner communities (See “communities” pages of this website to learn more about our partner communities).

Leadership development is a journey of action, reflection, and support. It takes time, commitment, and courage. NEXT Neighborhood Leaders is designed to be both demanding and flexible. It is demanding in that it requires a willingness to listen to others, stretch yourself, and change behavior when needed. It is flexible in that one participates in stages, making small commitments at each step of the journey and taking breaks as needed. To begin, you simply need to commit to the first part of the journey.

Sessions for the 2017 -18 year will rotate between Stowe Township, McKees Rocks and the Coro Office.

We invite you to apply if you:

  1. Live, work, or want to make positive change, in one of our partner communities
  2. Want to grow your social network
  3. Have an interest in discovering new ways to collaborate to make positive change
  4. Have a project or idea for positive community change that you would like to pursue.



Part I. Leadership Institute (6 Months)

You will meet regularly with your cohort to learn core skills for mobilizing people to make progress on complex community challenges. You will develop ideas and explore collaborations for community impact projects that you will launch no later than the beginning of part II. And you will create a plan for your own development as a leader. Sessions will take place on Thursday evenings (5:30pm – 9:30pm) and Saturdays (9:00am – 4:00pm); please see the schedule below. A meal is provided at each session.


Saturday, November 18, 9:00am – 4:00pm

Thursday, December 7, 5:30pm – 9:30pm

Saturday, December 16, 9:00am – 4:00pm


Thursday, January 4, 5:30pm – 9:30pm

Saturday, January 20, 9:00am – 4:00pm

Thursday, February 8, 5:30pm – 9:30pm

Saturday, February 24, 9:00am – 4:00pm

Thursday, March 8, 5:30pm – 9:30pm

Saturday, March 24, 9:00am – 4:00pm

Thursday, April 5, 5:30pm – 9:30pm

Saturday, April 21, 9:00am – 4:00pm

Thursday, May 3, 5:30pm – 9:30pm

Saturday, May 19, 9:00am – 4:00pm


Part II. Leadership Project (4 Months)

The formal training and learning sessions end and you launch community impact projects. Each of you will choose to do either a group or individual project. Those who choose the group project will work with other members of the cohort and continue to meet on a regular basis. Coro faculty and staff will provide support to your project teams. They may attend project team meetings but will not organize or facilitate them. All participants also have the opportunity to access the Coro alumni network in order to attract volunteers and supporters for your projects. By completing Part II, you earn a Coro diploma certifying your ability to lead community change.


Thursday, June 14, 5:30pm – 9:30pm

Thursday, July 12,, 5:30pm – 9:30pm

Thursday, August 16, 5:30pm – 9:30pm

Thursday, September 13, 5:30pm – 9:30pm (graduation)


DaVonna Graham is a native of the Historic Hill District and an advocate for strong communities and equitable education. She is an alumna of the 2010 cohort of NEXT Neighborhood Leaders of the Hill and Uptown.  This experience affirmed for her the value of building leadership within communities as a means for sustaining growth and improvement in local neighborhoods.  

As Program Manager and Facilitator for the NEXT Neighborhood Leaders, DaVonna believes in strengthening the talents, skills and collaboration between community groups and residents.

A second-year doctoral student and K. Leroy Irvis Fellow at the University of Pittsburgh, DaVonna serves as the Graduate Research and Teaching Associate in the Center for Urban Education.  Prior to coming to Pitt, DaVonna held dual leadership positions as Executive Director of the Hill District Education Council as well as the Director of Programming for the Schenley Heights Community Development Program.  Through her research and scholar activism, she is working to influence the ways in which schools and communities orient Black students to scholarship and opportunity.

DaVonna has served on the City of Pittsburgh’s Propel Commission, focused on growing and retaining Pittsburgh’s young professionals. She is a member of the Board of Directors for the Neighborhood Learning Alliance and an editorial assistant for the Urban Education Scholarly Journal.  DaVonna is also a committed, life-long member of the Wesley Center AME Zion Church.

Katie BlackburnKatie Blackburn
Katie is a program coordinator for Jumpstart Pittsburgh, a national nonprofit that trains undergraduates to mentor low-income preschoolers in language and literacy skills. Although a native of Philadelphia, she has come to truly enjoy Pittsburgh. Katie is excited to emerge from the program a confident and versed leader to elicit positive change in all future endeavors, whether for the city or in my field of early education.

Klara BrownKlara Brown
A resident of Wilkinsburg since 2005, Klara began her term as a member of the Wilkinsburg School District Board of Directors in December 2013, where she currently serves as Vice President and Treasurer. Klara also works as an Office Manager of a local Home Health Agency and serves as a board member of Hamnett Place Community Garden. In addition to leadership development, Next Neighborhood Leaders gives her the tools that I need to better understand herself: “This program has enabled me to confront my worst enemy…me!”

Autumn ButlerAutumn Butler
A Current resident of Wilkinsburg, Autumn serves as the executive director of Wilkinsburg Christian Housing, a ministry dedicated to restoring abandoned houses in Wilkinsburg. In addition, she is the administrator of Covenant Fellowship Church in Wilkinsburg. Autumn is excited to be a part of the Coro program as it seeks to bring community leaders together to discuss important community issues, and enjoys getting to know the other NEXT leaders and getting different perspectives on leadership and community development.

Evan DiamondEvan Diamond
Evan is a relatively new resident of Wilkinsburg, has studied music, traveled quite a bit and learned a lot about rural and urban agriculture. He currently serves as the manager of the produce department at the East End Food Co-op. About Coro: “the program creates a constellation of people that would not naturally form, which breaks barriers and creates and combines the energy of a better represented community. This is critical for communities like mine where legacies exist and apathy persists.”

Cynthia HendersonCynthia Kenderson
Cynthia is a Visionary/Dreamer with an eye for details… she manifests this through her photography and her ability to craft words into poetic sonnets and metaphors. About Coro: “the program is exciting to me because I get the opportunity to meet other leaders living and working in Wilkinsburg who are already doing great things for their communities. I look forward to collaborating with (them) on various projects in addition to using my current position to sharpen the skills that I desire to implement in my childhood neighborhood of Wilkinsburg.”

Jeff NashJeffrey Nash
Jeffrey is passionate about youth development and have served as program manager for YouthWorks for over 9 years. An alumnus of Coro’s Community Problem Solving Fellowship, he is excited about participating in this second Coro program. Jeffrey’s future goals include plans to obtain both a Master’s degree in Social Work and a Law degree.

Alex OliverAlexandra Oliver
Alexandra moved to Pittsburgh from Canada to pursue a PhD in art history. After completing her degree, she decided to stay in Pittsburgh to continue working with the growing arts community. To Alex, Next Neighborhood Leaders represents an outstanding opportunity to connect with a diversity of neighborhood leaders who are committed to making Wilkinsburg a stronger community, and finds that it is also a great opportunity – and challenge – for personal and professional development.

Brazitte PooleBrazitte Poole
A Pittsburgh native from Wilkinsburg and Homewood, Brazitte graduated from Coro’s Women in Leadership in 2014. Joining Next Leaders “gives me an opportunity to collaborate with an amazing cohort of people to make an impact on a neighborhood that means so much to me.”

Jalea RobinsonJaleah Robinson
Jaleah is passionate about education’s potential to empower our young women and men, is proud to serve as the assistant principal at the Environmental Charter School, and is eager to take on a new role as a board member of the Wilkinsburg Boys & Girls Club. Jaleah is excited about Next “because I get to engage with my community in a new and meaningful way. It is easy to get stuck in the land of what’s not going right, but real change can happen when we make the choice to work together to provide a purpose driven solution.”

Latrice Rose
A Wilkinsburg High School Alumni and resident, Latrice felt it was imperative that she join NEXT Neighborhood Leaders and make a positive impact on Wilkinsburg. A photographer who was looking to introduce an arts program to the Wilkinsburg schools, her focus is now developing a healing art nonprofit. Latrice recently accepted a position as a youth program coordinator working in the Hilltop neighborhoods. Through NEXT, Latrice identified her strengths as a transparent, strong, and passionate leader, and looks forward to continuing to provide resources to residents and create inclusive and impactful change in Wilkinsburg.

Teisha StolichTeisha Stolich
Teisha is a native of Pittsburgh and have been a Wilkinsburg resident for several years. Prior to becoming Director of Recruitment for Coro Pittsburgh, she served as a Code Enforcement Officer for the Borough of Wilkinsburg, ensuring the health, safety, and well-being of all residents. She is a passionate, adaptive leader that enjoys helping others and is excited to expand her skills and development through Next Neighborhood Leaders.

Frank TillmanFrank Tillman
Raised in Homewood and a resident of Wilkinsburg since 2007, Frank served Wilkinsburg School District for six years as a paraprofessional and four years tutoring in the afterschool program. Currently, he teaches in Pittsburgh Public Schools and directs two weekend youth programs. “I am dedicated to the education and safety of youth. It has been an honor to participate in the Coro program where I have learned valuable key aspects to leadership, and how to be more effective in my leadership role and service to my community.”

O.E. (Zoe) ZelmanovichO.E. (Zoe) Zelmanovich
Zoe is a proud fifth generation Pittsburgher and has been a homeowner in Wilkinsburg for five years. “I am excited to participate in the Coro program because I love Wilkinsburg and believe that it is well-suited, as a typical inner city rustbelt neighborhood and a tiny independent municipality, to be a locus of experimentation and forward thinking policy-making that can create genuinely equitable development and build a diverse community that truly allows all of its residents to thrive.”

The cost of NEXT Leaders is $5,000 for each participant. Because of our fundraising efforts, we are able to offer the program tuition free. Your support is critical to our efforts. To contribute, visit our fundraising site.
The dates below are for the current (2015-16) cohort of Wilkinsburg leaders. All sessions will run from 5:30 – 9:00 pm, with a light meal provided. Check back with us soon for session dates for our next cohort beginning in September 2016 for Stowe Township and McKees Rocks leaders.

Thursday, October 01, 2015
Thursday, October 08, 2015
Thursday, October 15, 2015
Thursday, October 22, 2015
Thursday, October 29, 2015
Thursday, November 05, 2015
Thursday, November 12, 2015
Thursday, November 19, 2015
Thursday, December 03, 2015
Thursday, December 17, 2015
Wednesday, January 07, 2016
Thursday, January 21, 2016
Thursday, February 04, 2016
Thursday, February 18, 2016
Thursday, March 03, 2016
Thursday, March 17, 2016
Thursday, March 31, 2016
Thursday, April 14, 2016
Thursday, April 28, 2016
Thursday, May 12, 2016
Thursday, May 26, 2016
Thursday, June 09, 2016
Thursday, June 23, 2016
Thursday, July 07, 2016
Thursday, July 21, 2016
Thursday, August 04, 2016
Thursday, August 18, 2016
Thursday, September 01, 2016
Thursday, September 15, 2016


CLICK HERE for the Application. In addition to filling out the application, please send a copy of your Resume and Essay Requirements in PDF form to DaVonna Graham – dgraham@coropittsburgh.org. Deadline to apply is 11/8/2017.


CLICK HERE to nominate someone to NEXT Neighborhood Leaders today!


If you have any questions, please reach out to DaVonna Graham, Facilitator and Program Manager for Next Neighborhood Leaders – dgraham@coropittsburgh.org

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