Goleta city leaders graduated 25 participants of its second LEAD Goleta Community Academy Wednesday night.
LEAD stands for Learn, Empower, Advocate, and Discuss. The program is free and designed to help residents understand the role of local government in the community.
Participants learned about city operations during six weeks of classes.
The goal of the academy is to encourage residents to get more involved in the future of local government.
"I love Goleta. I appreciate the beauty. I work here. My kids go to school here. I've lived here for a long time," said Goleta resident and LEAD graduate Daalia Reynolds. "But I definitely did not fully grasp how complex an operation running a city is."
Participants got behind-the-scenes looks at various city departments including Finance, Public Works, Planning, Neighborhood Services, the City Clerk’s Office, Goleta Valley Library, City Attorney’s Office and Community Outreach.
They also took a tour of City Hall and experienced a Mock City Council meeting.
"I would recommend this to other students. It's very good especially if you want to get into government later in life," said Dos Pueblos High School student and LEAD graduate Kyle Yao. "Even if you don't, it's a good way to see what the government does and how they work."
Participants in the program attended their last class Wednesday night on public safety and emergency preparedness.
A graduation ceremony followed the last class where the participants were presented with completion certifications.