The LEAD Community

 Group of LEAD students

Latino Empowerment At De Anza (LEAD) is a learning community created by students, for students. It was founded in 2005 by a group of 12 students who wanted to create a student leadership development program that focused on the Latino community and culture as well as developing their leadership in the community.  

Since then, LEAD has expanded and serves as a model for learning on the De Anza campus.


LEAD Basics

Below you'll find more information about LEAD and

A Program and a Club

What makes LEAD different from other organizations  – on or off the De Anza campus? LEAD is both a program and a student club.

As a program, LEAD offers many classes in a variety of disciplines, and uses a unique style of learning to promote civic engagement and student success. In our classes, students work in small groups called familias throughout the quarter. Each familia has a mentor, who serves as the liaison between the teacher and student, and makes sure that each familia member has all the support they need to succeed. In their familias, students collaborate on projects, work together to support each other in their learning, and create a strong sense of community.

As a club, LEAD extends this sense of connection and civic engagement to students who aren’t taking a class with us at the time, but who still want to be a part of the work that LEAD does on campus and in the community.

Academic Subjects

Are LEAD classes right for you?

When we first began, LEAD offered only a handful of subjects, mostly in Language Arts. Today, LEAD works with more than 1,000 students a year. We offer classes in

  • Women’s Studies
  • Linguistics
  • Economics
  • Chicano Studies
  • Language Arts
  • Political Science
  • Environmental Studies

All of our classes are based strongly on the teachings of Paulo Friere, with students teaching each other and participating in 12 hours of civic engagement and service to the community. 

Community and Civic Engagement

We are very proud to be part of the Vasconcellos Institute for Democracy in Action, and work with their office and programs throughout the year.  

Some of our recent civic engagement projects have included

  • working with children at the Buena Vista Migrant Camp
  • creating oral history projects with the Mountain View Day Worker Center
  • restarting and tending the Kirsch Center Garden
  • organizing the annual LEAD Global Issues Conference
  • creating workshops for the California History Center Mass Incarceration Project
  • hosting Take Back the Night
  • providing the jumpstart for the Jean Miller Women, Gender and Sexualities Resource Room. 



Building: Multi-Cultural Center (MCC)

See campus map

Contact: Chesa Caparas

Our Goal

LEAD helps students find a connection to our college and their communities and understand how powerful they can be as agents for positive social change.


  • Community Service
  • Social Justice
  • Developing a Sense of Familia


Donate to our Program!

  1. Visit the Foothill-De Anza Foundation Give Now page.
  2. Fill out the form, selecting De Anza College for the program and type LEAD in the blank field. 

We appreciate your support and look forward to building more partnerships with students, faculty, professional staff and community partners.

Get the Facts, Get Involved

Who, What, When, Where, Why, How 

 lead brochure 

 Download the LEAD brochure

Get and Stay Connected

Facebook logo Join the LEAD Facebook Group

Join Our LEAD Club

Club meetings every Thursday @ 12:30 p.m.

Location: Multi-Cultural Center (MCC)

Club Advisor: Chesa Caparas

Learn more about the LEAD Club at De Anza Clubs.

Lead members with fan

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