Training & Development Offerings

Since launching in 2012, the Global Justice Institute has hosted several groups from around New York City, the U.S., and internationally who are looking to find out more about El Puente’s practice. We curate each of these training sessions based on groups’ interest and time, and we are committed to meeting your groups specific needs!

For training rates and booking information, contact Clara Waloff at or (718) 387-0404 x34

Trainer Jana Lynne Umipig performing original piece as part of Creative Justice Approach Training

Our areas of expertise include:

  • Arts for Social Change
  • Community & Cultural Sustainability (Green Light District)
  • Transformative Community Building 
  • Participatory Action Research
  • Creating Sacred Space & Community Rituals
  • Leadership Development & Personal Empowerment
  • Integrated Arts & Education for Liberation in-school & out-of-school
  • Social Entrepreneurship

Arts for Social Change:

Introduction to El Puente’s Creative Justice Approach Framework

How can the arts and creative expression be used as powerful tools for youth & adult learning & engagement? And how can that passion found in creative expression move participants from inspiration to action as leaders for social change? This session includes a deep dive into El Puente's Creative Justice Approach, a framework for development through transformative arts and creativity. Through small and large group discussion and interactive work-shopping, participants will walk away with tools for applying the Creative Justice Approach framework directly to their own work.

El Puente Youth Muralistas presenting to group from Heinz Foundation

El Puente Academy Students presenting to group from DreamYard

The Creative Justice Approach (CJA) derives from a multi-year, comprehensive Participatory Action Research Study of what El Puente instructors and participants identified as their most impactful practices. The CJA includes examples of work with youth, staff and community in addition to applicable tools for implementation and assessment in a variety of settings. The CJA describes a comprehensive approach to learning in three areas:

Lens 1: Social Ecology - people, place, purpose

Lens 2:  Learning Renaissance - creative learning cycle

Lens 3: Personal Transformation

The Creative Justice Approach workshop will engage participants intensively on the Creative Learning Cycle, which guides the action steps of implementing the framework.  After sharing tried-and-true practices from El Puente's long legacy of channeling the power of the arts towards personal and community transformation, participants will be asked to bring forth their own passion areas and toughest challenges to plan and assess their work. This workshop is ideal for organizational leaders and managers and practitioners working within arts and/or education.

Striving For Thriving:

Introduction to El Puente's Green Light District Initiative for Community & Cultural Sustainability

In this highly interactive and rigorous workshop, members of El Puente’s Green Light District will engage participants around the vital role of community development to foster thriving communities. They will share examples of El Puente's legacy of self-determination, models of community assets mapping, participatory research, and movement from ideas and declarations to action planning and implementation. Participants will walk away with a clear model & methodology in addition to strategies for creating their own vision and model based on the needs and desires of their organization and community.

Green Light District Session with DreamYard

El Puente Green Light District (GLD) is a strategic ten-year initiative to sustain, grow, green, and celebrate Williamsburg’s Southside community. At a time when communities across New York City are facing rapid changes that threaten to destabilize our neighborhoods, the Green Light District seeks to flip the disempowerment of gentrification and put the power of transformation in the hands of its residents and stakeholders. The Green Light District seeks to build equity and sustainability through connecting residents to each other, socially and culturally; sharing knowledge and resources across the neighborhood through partnerships, coalitions, and alliances; improving access to public resources; and building leadership in the community to carry our collective goals forward. There are five areas of focus of the Green Light District: Affordable Living, Arts & Culture, Education, Greening Spaces & Environmental Justice, and Health & Wellness. Each area of focus has a committee composed of residents, representatives from partner organizations, and a selection of advisors from various fields, who together form the Green Light District Development Team.

This workshop is ideal for: organizational leaders and managers, new Executive Directors in non-profits / B Corps, emerging leaders in the non-profit sector, emerging leaders in policy and political landscape, community development corporations, local community leaders, and school leaders.

Kitchen Table Talk:

Human Rights & Social Justice Mastermind Session with El Puente Leaders

 Kitchen Table Talks with founder Luis Garden Acosta and co-founders Frances Lucerna & Gino Maldonado to groups from Queens Museum

The Kitchen Table Talk is El Puente's venue for passing on the history and sharing the legacy and best practices of the founders and elders in the organization. It is designed to be adapted for both internal groups (new and seasoned staff) and external groups visiting the organization. The Kitchen Table Talk reflects the way knowledge and history is shared in our community - in conversation & storytelling, in rituals, and in everyday settings around the table breaking bread. It creates an intentionally intimate, motivating, and galvanizing environment; and it symbolizes an investment in passing on leadership and legacy to the next generation.

PAR training at Cultural Organizing Conference (top) and El Puente Beacon Staff Training 

Participatory Action Research for Planning & Assessment

Participatory Action Research (PAR) is an interactive process planning, facilitating, and assessing programs and community initiatives based on a cycle of observation, inquiry forming, data collection, data analysis, and action. PAR can be implemented to establish, measure, and assess expected outcomes of program managers, instructors, and participants. It is designed to be an ongoing process that involves all major players (youth and adult members included!) In PAR, the process is the product, the participants are the subjects and the conductors of the research, and findings are based on qualitative evidence - including personal experiences, opinions, and reflections. The result of PAR is a powerful set of findings that can guide a group of stakeholders to move in a different direction, take actions based on what was discovered, and invest in areas that contribute to the most desired outcomes.


Images Copyright El Puente, All Rights Reserved, 2015

In this Core Offering, client organizations will receive training in the background and methodology of PAR, they will see examples of completed PAR projects, and they will formulate their own focus of inquiry based on their organization's needs and expected outcomes.


El Puente New Staff Orientation (left)  "Empowered Leadership" training with Trainer Stephanie Jackson (right)

"Love + Accountability = Liberation" training