Vicenta connected with MCI Network by chance and was eager to learn more. Vicenta was instantly drawn to how
MCI Network was engaging the community, and the Leadership Academy as a way for residents
to connect and support each other for their neighborhood’s betterment. MCI Network is part of Children’s
Bureau’s place-based prevention strategy that authentically engages residents for their wisdom and lived experience
to help develop local solutions to challenges in the community. Vicenta shared that the Leadership Academy enabled her to leverage her passion for community advocacy to support its members. “I have grown a lot and being a part of the Leadership Academy has opened many doors for me including getting a job and the training needed for the new role. I have developed as a person and have been able to share the knowledge that I have learned with my colleagues and to those who are involved in the academy,” said Vicenta. Vicenta says MCI has given her the
self-confidence she lacked when she immigrated to the United States. She co-created the curriculum that currently guides Academy sessions and has become a leader in the neighborhood council in her area.

She is now a candidate for the role of president of the neighborhood council for MacArthur Park. “That was impactful and very big in my life because I believed in myself, trusted in myself, and was able to accomplish my goal,” said Vicenta.

Members from the Leadership Academy uplifted her and said, “You can do it, you can achieve anything you want to.” Vicenta says that motivated her to want to become somebody important in her community.