Destinations Leadership Program

The Destinations Leadership Program is character and leadership development program to prepare and equip young people for life beyond what they know as they are embarking on their transition into adulthood. Youth and young adults through traveling abroad opportunities gain skills and lifelong experiences that give them a leg up in their desired professions and within their network circles. The ultimate goal of the program is to prepare them to be global citizens, leaders, activists, and philanthropists.

The Destination Leadership program focuses travel on national and global issues of racial equity and intersectionality. It is centered on a five-point approach: people, place, pain, power, and purpose. In visiting places, immersing with people who have experienced or are experiencing pain, young leaders gain insight on how to transform pain into a path for repositioning power and having greater purpose. Destination emerging leaders through a six-month curriculum learn how to become change agents by participating in activities that include leadership-building workshops, engaging in cultural exchange, researching history and current landscape, reading and analyzing for critical thinking, expanding their world vision, connecting with peers and caring adults, meeting with dignitaries, participating in volunteerism, and learning history.

Current Destinations Leadership Program Locations

Lownes County

This spring, April 3 – 8, 2024, SOH’s Destination’s program and Freedom Fellows are returning to Lowndes County in Alabama for a learning immersive in multi-racial and multi-generational democracy. Freedom Fellows in this advanced immersive will level up their organizing skills by developing agency and capacity to analyze and resist systemic institutional otherization; growing in self-leadership and radical allyship for long-term sustainable bridging; deepening understanding of resiliency, intersectionality, and solidarity; committing to protect voting rights through youth-driven civic engagement; and advancing authentic, bold, and equitable belonging.

The Freedom Fellows delegation has a fundraising project. The goal is to secure $5,000 for the Lowndes County Friends of The Civil Rights Movement, a charitable group that raises awareness of the contributions of the people of Lowndes County to the Civil Rights Movement of 1965.

Other curricula include six preparation meetings, rereading South to America and reading “Ella Baker’s Catalytic Leadership, and two documentaries featuring Lowndes County.

Puerto Rico/Barbados Winter 2024

The Destinations Program will be taking a delegation on a 14- day trip to Puerto Rico and Barbados in late December. This trip will be focused on global independence movements.

The delegation interest form closed on March 15. Interviews and final selection will take place in May 2024.

Curricula will include 8 mandatory preparation meetings, three book readings, and team-building retreat.

Past Destinations Leadership Program Locations:

2023 Cuba

Delivering Medical Supplies to the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center in the Pogolotti, Marianao community of Havana. Pictured are SOH Destinations Delegation to Cuba with Rev. Idael Montero Pacheco, Pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church and MLK Community Center Director.

Sanctuary of Hope’s (SOH) Destinations program took a delegation to Cuba for an educational and humanitarian trip. The 18-person delegation comprised of young people, staff, and board members engaged in a week of exploring the healthcare, social services, arts and culture sectors in Cuba, and the impact of the historic and horrific United States blockade.

Centering community resilience, the delegation’s education and humanitarian projects focused on two critical needs, medical and office supplies. In partnership with the non-profit, Not Just Tourists, the SOH delegation brought 12 suitcases filled with 30 pounds each of essential medical supplies for distribution to local hospitals and clinics. Additionally, the delegation collected and delivered two duffle bags filled with stationary supplies to Presna Latina, the Cuban news agency.

The delegation participated in a six-month preparation curriculum curated by Kelvin Sauls. The curriculum consisted of a Netflix docu-series “Cuba Libre” and the book “Oshun’s Calabash: Dancing Across Cuba into the Memory of the Embodies African Soul and Finding Home” by Dr. Iya Alisa Osunfunke Orduña.

Three teach-in sessions with Dr. Bita Amani from Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science, Dr. Rosemary Mealy, author, educator, and Board Member of the Interreligious Federation for Community Organizing (IFCO)/Pastor for Peace, and Dr. Orduña complimented the materials explored. In collaboration with their travel agent, Juanita Palacios-Sims of Beyond Cuba Travel, SOH also hosted a Community Dialogue with a delegation from the Cuban Embassy.

2022 Destination: A West To South Human and Civil Rights Encounter

Sanctuary of Hope Freedom Fellows went on a two-week Freedom Ride, A West to South Civil and Human Rights Encounter. Our Fellows represented young people from South Los Angeles and Antelope Valley who visited five states (Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Tennessee) and historical iconic sites, engaged in teach-ins and intergenerational conversations with people like civil rights activist Annie Pearl Avery and members of Lowndes County, and immersed in cultural experiences.

Our Fellows prepared extensively by reading “Coming of Age in Mississippi” and “South to America” to examine the importance of youth activism and its impact on human and civil rights in addition to intersections of the past with the present to advance racial justice.

The Freedom Ride trip curator was Kelvin Sauls; and travel agent, Beyond Cuba Travel.

2019 Southern Africa (South Africa and Zimbabwe)