Sant La fellows listening to another participant speak during class in 2017. Photo courtesy of Sant La

A local leadership program that has helped mold four city officials in recent years is seeking to train yet another generation of Haitian-American leaders. Sant La Fellows’ seventh class will start in November in North Miami — the exact date has yet to be finalized.

Applications are due on Oct. 31.

“This fellowship program is very unique, there’s nothing like it for young Haitians who have a passion for serving their community,” said Kenta Joseph, Sant La’s special projects administrator.

So far, about 15 people have applied for the class of 10 participants. The year-long program will train the participants to become civic, academic, business and political leaders through discussion labs, mentorship and a capstone project.

To be eligible to apply, applicants must be between 21 and 35 years old and have a two-year college degree or higher.

Classes will be held virtually and in person, according to Sant La. Some topics participants will explore include migration, housing affordability and social equity. They will also connect with Haiti’s history and ongoing issues through a trip to Cap-Haitien in April, which is critical because elected officials often look to assist Haiti.

 “That exposure, that awareness is very critical,” Joseph said. “They’d get an opportunity to connect with people in Haiti who are also civically involved and doing many great projects in Haiti.”

The four Sant La Fellows graduates who went on to become city officials are North Miami Clerk Vanessa Joseph, North Miami District 2 Councilwoman Kassandra Timothe, North Miami Beach Assistant City Manager Gedel Merzius and Coral Springs Commissioner Nancy Metayer.

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Onz Chery is a Haiti correspondent for The Haitian Times. Chery started his journalism career as a City College of New York student with The Campus. He later wrote for First Touch, local soccer leagues in New York and Elite Sports New York before joining The Haitian Times in 2019.

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