They Give You A Voice: Program Evaluation of the Garden State Leaders Program

Rebecca Glinn, Ryan Jeter, Monica Moir, Justin Ray, Breana Stevens

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In 2015, the New Jersey Coalition to End Homelessness partnered with the Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey to create the Garden State Leaders Program. The Garden State Leaders Program (GSL) trains New Jersey residents with experiences of homelessness and poverty to advocate for policies throughout the state. Since its creation in 2015, the program has graduated five cohorts. Once a month, program participants attend a session where the main facilitators and guest speakers teach participants about issues connected to poverty and homelessness or advocacy skills. After attending five of the six sessions, participants graduate from the program. Research questions included:

  • What are the benefits for individuals participating in the Garden State Leaders Program?
  • What are barriers to participating in and graduating from the program?
  • From the point of view of participants, how could facilitators improve the program?