TLP and Experiential Learning (2021 project highlights)

August 9, 2021

The Transformational Leaders Program (TLP) is a signature program of the Urban Core Collective that teaches and practices our actionable values of prioritizing self care, cultivating relationships, incubating ideas and acting collectively. TLP is the only regional cross-cultural and cross-sector leadership development program that is unapologetically designed for professionals of color. The program’s objective is to help emerging and existing difference-makers develop the hard and soft skills needed to promote racial equity. 

One part of the TLP experience is the creation of a final, group experiential learning project. This is an opportunity for TLP leaders to engage in collective learning and impact by and for communities of color. Here’s what a few recent TLP graduates said were their favorite parts of this project based learning experience:

  • "The fact that we got to explore our own interests within the Black or Latinx community and take time to grow and learn!"
  • "Working as a collective to achieve the common goal we had set for ourselves, and learning about my topic overall. I had a lot of questions and history-learning to do."
  • "Making a difference in my community."
  • "Being able to connect with TLP Cohort members and learn from one another and about one another on a personal level."
  • "I enjoyed being myself and not being scared of not knowing what I didn't know."

TLP 2021 Showcase

The TLP 2021 Showcase: Stories of Home, History and Healing featured four leader-led TLP projects. Below is more about these projects and links to experience each for yourself. If you’re interested in learning more about TLP or joining the next cohort, you’re invited to an informational session this Thursday, August 12th and to submit an application by Monday, August 23rd. 

Impact of Gentrification in Grand Rapids

This project is a short, original animation that looks at the effects of gentrification in Grand Rapids. The TLP group created this project to inform community members about events happening in our neighborhoods and why it’s important. This informational video is less than 10 minutes and can be viewed here:

Deep Soul Stories Podcast

Food, art, and music are powerful vehicles for story telling for individuals, communities and culture. They can represent who we are, where we come from, how we live, what we believe and who we will become. From traditional Easter celebrations in St. Martin to medicinal uses for catfish, the Deep Soul Stories Podcast explores these important themes through stories. Listen to this group share part of their identities and personal stories here:

MEntal Health Matters

The importance of healing is what motivated this group to produce six video blogs on mental health in communities of color. They use personal experience, community resources and research to explore the different ways mental health matters. In addition to an overview of mental health, they also touch on physical fitness, race and culture, eating disorders, substance use and more. 

Take a listen to each of the episodes by following the links below: 

The Black and Brown Archives of West Michigan

A belief in the power of storytelling to unite our communities drove this group to develop personal diaries that explore and feature powerful elements of Black and Latinx culture. From art to policing, this project affirms that our lived experiences may be different, but share many o the same themes. Check it out this project here.

Apply to TLP 2021-2022

If you want to apply for the 2021-2022 cohort, register for the informational session is this Thursday, August 12th and apply by 5pm on Monday, August 23. If you have any questions, email us at

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