The Garden State Leaders Program
The Garden State Leaders Program is a free, six-month long leadership and advocacy training program for NJ residents with lived experience of homelessness and poverty. Throughout the program we and our partners help participants learn to effectively tell their stories and further their advocacy goals. Each session focuses on a different topic such as effectively telling your story, working with the media, and more. One session is held at the NJ State House in Trenton, with the opportunity to meet with legislators and to gain a better understanding of the legislative process in our state.
The program helps to build the skills of people with lived experience of poverty. The knowledge and skill built and connections made, help them take on influential roles on issues pertinent to their lives. Participants are also connected regularly to a range of advocacy opportunities.
We recently concluded our 2019-2020 program. Please reach out to Kate Leahy: or Renee Koubiadis:
with any questions and for information on how to participate in future programs.
2019 Garden State Leaders and staff with NJ Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker
Learn how to advocate and tell your own story to effect change on public policies that matter to you
Work closely with other advocates and key non-profit leaders throughout the state.
Interact with local and state government officials
Learn how to navigate county government and the NJ State House
Free to attend
Testimonials from our Garden State Leaders:
“Excellent program! Highly recommend to any advocate. Most helpful program I have ever been involved in. Knowledge is very empowering and I feel blessed to share my experience to advocate and help others. Thank you all!"
"This program changed me tremendously. Advocating and serving others has become my life's purpose. I reached another chance for change and as fate would have it made the right choice. I know I can be a good advocate. It comes from somewhere deep inside us. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity and the experience."
"The Garden State Leaders Program has had such a positive influence in my life in so many ways. I have always felt that I had potential, I was just completely in doubt as to what I felt confident in applying it to. I knew I had an important personal story based on my life experiences that many people identified with and respected. However, I was not educated on how to present my story in a manner for which it could be utilized as a resource tool of effectiveness. The Garden State Leaders Program has broadened my horizons. I am grateful, and honored to be an alumni of the program. Ihave already started using the lessons and skilled trades learned in the program to engage with members of my local community."
"It was a wonderful experience. Thank you for providing this."
Garden State Leaders is a partnership between: