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What does a society that values community leadership look like? 

What resources does it need to transform its immediate and long-term futures?

Learn more about our workshop and panel offerings below! 

Please note that titles and scheduled times are subject to change. Sessions are 50-minutes unless noted.

Simultaneous Spanish interpretation services will be available for plenaries and selected breakout sessions (**). / La interpretación simultánea en español estará disponible para las conversaciones de apertura  y algunas otras sesiones.


October 17th


9 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.

Opening Keynote: Writing Our Joyful Story

Welcome to Vital Village Networks’ 10th Annual National Community Leadership Summit! Celebrate being back together in person and hear from award-winning storyteller Kiese Laymon.


10:30 a.m. - 11:20 a.m.

Education: Early Care & Education

Educating to Liberate: Building Strong Partnerships for Early Care and Education

Explore how partnerships between community-based organizations, parents, and educators are redefining early care and education for children and families.


Health: Mental Health & Wellbeing

Healing Ourselves to Heal Our Communities

As we work to heal and build communities grounded in justice, we must address our individual and collective mental health; hear from those working with parents to better understand adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), as well as those working to provide resources and coaching to individuals to build strong mental health practices.

Food Systems: Food Apartheid & Sovereignty

Recreating Our Food System: Naming Food Apartheid & Providing Sustainable Solutions for Food Sovereignty

Begin to distinguish Food Apartheid from Food Insecurity, share real-world success stories, and learn about practical tools and resources for sustainable change. Join us for a transformative session, leaving with awareness, empowerment, and actionable strategies.

Data Storytelling Lightning Talks


11:30 a.m. - 12:20 p.m.

Education: Advocacy & Justice

Justice Now: Advocating for Healing-Centered Policy

It’s time to rewrite and create policies designed for children, families, and communities to thrive. In this session you’ll hear from advocates who are doing this work in Alachua County, Florida, in Boston, and several other communities across the country.

Health: Birth Equity

The Journey from Injustice to Joy

Explore how birth workers are creating safe, healthy, healing-centered spaces for individuals and families to welcome new children into their lives. You’ll hear from doulas, community partners, and more about how they’re journeying from injustice to joy in birth equity.

Food Systems: Youth Leadership

Navigating the Future: Empowering Youth through Innovative Education

An interactive workshop designed to promote progressive pedagogy that prepares youth for success in an ever-changing world; discover how innovative teaching methods, emerging technologies, and holistic development strategies can shape well-rounded, resilient individuals. Learn how to empower the next generation to not only adapt to the future but also drive positive change through enriched educational experiences.


1:20 p.m. - 2:10 p.m.

Education: Collective Leadership

Leading Ourselves to Liberation: Collaborative Leadership Models

Explore how communities and coalitions are redefining leadership together. Hear from coalition leaders in Massachusetts, Minnesota, and New Hampshire focused on collective leadership to support thriving children, families, and communities.

Health: Healing Community Partnerships

The Power of Partnership: Healing Ourselves in Beloved Community

Building and being in community with one another is key to our collective joy and healing on our journey to justice. Join us to hear stories from long-time partners of Vital Village Networks who have found healing and belonging in community connections.


Food Systems: Cooperatives

Community Centered Model Food Markets as a Pathway to Civic Engagement

Learn from stakeholders from across the country about  the successes and challenges of using community food access programs as a pathway to civic engagement.


2:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Stepping into Our Future Together: Taking Action for Joy, Justice, and Healing

The road to justice and healing is long, we each have gifts to offer and work to do along the journey.  As we prepare to return to our respective paths, what actions are necessary individually and collectively to move us closer to justice? We’ll hear from Camille Bennett, Founding & Executive Director of Project Say Something about her work and how we can continue our collective fight.

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