MUA members are leaders from the moment they enter our doors. Our programs create the environment for Latina and Indigenous immigrants to identify the leadership skills they already possess as well as identify new areas of growth. MUA has a clearly defined Pathway to Leadership for our members. We believe that our members are best suited to lead our organization and know that they have the capacity to bring this leadership to other community organizations and our social justice movements.
After participating regularly in MUA programs for 2-6 months, a new MUA member is eligible to enroll in one or more leadership training courses, each of which is typically offered once per year and requires a commitment to join a leader committee.
Leadership Courses we offer include:
- Leadership and Unity for Community Power: an intensive course in community organizing, base-building, public speaking, policy advocacy, grassroots fundraising, and social movement history;
- Peer Counselor Training: an intensive course on how to provide non-judgemental peer support and useful referrals to women in crisis;
- Support Group Facilitator Training: a course in group facilitation and documentation; and
- Domestic Violence Advocate and/or Sexual Assault Counselor training: a state-ceritified continuing education course for experienced peer counselors in domestic violence or sexual assault counseling, survivor accompaniment, mandated reporting, and criminal justice system navigation. Graduates received certification from the California Office of Emergency Services (CalOES).
Through our Pathway to Leadership, MUA members progressively take on greater leadership roles. The first step after completing a leadership training course is to join a MUA leader committee. Committees are where member-leaders take on responsibilities and sign up for shifts as volunteers. Committees are organized by activity: RAICES (organizing and advocacy), Peer Counselor and Group Facilitator Committee, Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Advocate Committee, and Grassroots Fundraising Committee. Participants receive continuing education in their chosen area, and take on volunteer shifts to put their skills into practice. This way they gain greater skills while contributing to expanding MUA’s positive impact in the community.
Member-leaders are prioritized for Board and staff positions at all levels of our organization. MUA members who are hired onto staff continue to receive intensive vocational and leadership training after they are hired via our Futuro Fuerte (Strong Future) staff development program. Currently over 60% of MUA’s staff started out as members, and MUA leaders make up 70% of our Board of Directors. Strengthening women’s leadership is central to MUA’s model for social change.