Professional Development

Leadership Academy Capstone Project

Leadership Academy 30 – Neighborhood Pets

Levin College's Leadership Academy cohort #30 is supporting Neighborhood Pets, a local nonprofit located in Cleveland’s Slavic Village. The cohort is collecting monetary and in-kind donations. Learn more.  Learn more. »


Leadership Academy 29 – NEOCH

Members of Leadership Academy 29 collected in-kind and monetary donations supporting the work of the the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless (NEOCH). This year's class faced a few obstacles due to the COVID-19 pandemic and had to switch gears to accommodate the current safety and health measures in place. Although the project looked slightly different than originally planned, the cohort followed through, and still reached the goals originally set. According to their website, NEOCH works to eliminate the root causes of homelessness through organizing, advocacy, and street outreach.

A big thank you goes out to Joe Kickel for leading this effort. The cohort recognized Joe's commitment to the project, voting him as the "Leadership Academy 29 Outstanding Fellow." Joe serves as the Capital Project Manager at the City of Cleveland Heights.

According to Joe:

“The team engaged with the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless (NEOCH) to identify avenues to various local homeless shelters where the event could be held. Different team members who worked at various local agencies started collecting donations for food, and the much-needed items. Almost halfway through the project the world was stricken by COVID-19, and the team had to re-develop the project to adapt to the risks and challenges faced by communal gatherings.

The project was re-developed a couple of times as the conditions and the requirements of social distancing changed. After communicating with the staff at NEOCH, it was determined that one of most needed items for the homeless was canned foods that can be easily opened with pop-tops and personal items since many shelters were reducing their levels. The team did not give up on delivering a viable project, and quickly rose to the challenge purchasing boxes of food, putting together much needed toiletry kits, and collecting additional funds to donate to NEOCH. Although the project changed greatly from what was originally conceived, the goal never changed, which was to deliver a project that would improve the quality of life for homeless people, providing them with a sense of community, and a feeling of belonging."

~Joe Kickel, Leadership Academy 29


Leadership Academy 28 – Super Senior Outreach Initiative

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Members of Leadership Academy 28 launched a "Super Senior Outreach" initiative, collecting a variety of in-kind donations (toiletries, socks, blankets, nutritional drinks, candy, popcorn, etc.) for the senior citizen residents of Cuyahoga County Metropolitan Housing Authority's (CMHA) Beachcrest Apartments on Thursday, May 9, 2019. The group ended up organizing and facilitating a social for over 40 CMHA residents. The cohort played card games, solved puzzles, operated a green screen photo booth station, and did crafts with the seniors’ citizens in attendance. Additionally, Cleveland Public Library's TechCentral staff brought a 3D printer and a wooden key-chain maker for residents to experience some of the library's technology-focused services.

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Some of the alumni also joined Levin for a wonderful “Levin Serves with Leadership Academy” event on November 7, 2019. At the event, Levin faculty, staff, students, and Leadership Academy alumni organized a "Super Senior Social" at Riverview Towers, continuing the project done by the cohort in May. The social included crafts, a dance party, games, a photo booth, a laser key chain maker sponsored by Cleveland Public Library's TechCentral team, and more. A few days before the event, many of the cohort members even gathered together for a "packing party" in the Urban College to sort and package the donations.


Leadership Academy 27 – The Caring Closet

Members of Leadership Academy 27 developed a program called The Caring Closet. The Caring Closet collects personal care products to distribute to school children in need. Currently, the program serves two CMSD schools: Marion-Sterling and the Walton School.


Leadership Academy 25 – Go Baby Go!

Members of Leadership Academy 25 worked with Cleveland State University’s Go Baby Go! Team in a successful collaboration to put together battery-powered, ride-on cars young children with mobility and sensory impairments in the community. According to the Go Baby Go Cleveland! Webpage, Go Baby Go! develops low-cost, high-impact technologies ranging from battery-powered, ride-on cars for infants to hands-free harness systems for children and adults.


Leadership Academy 24 – Little Free Library

Members of Leadership Academy 24 dedicated a Little Free Library at 1299 Superior Avenue in Cleveland (outside of NOACA’s office). According to the Little Free Library website, the nonprofit organization provides communities with access to books through a global network of volunteer-led little libraries. Each year, millions of books are exchanged, profoundly increasing access to books for readers of all ages and backgrounds.