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. Below you'll find more information about LEAD and

LEAD offers 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.

2019 Highlights

Winter 2019: Global Issues Conference

Keynote speakers at the 12th annual conference include

  • Soleil Ho of the "Racist Sandwich Podcast," speaking on "The Politics of Food"
  • Carlos Martinez and Latu Tapaatoutai, speaking on "Migration, the Southern Border and the Crisis in Venezuela"

Spring 2019: Introduction to Peer Mentoring

This course explores the interrelationships between educational experience and identities, cultures and languages, along with ways to build solidarity and community through peer mentorship. To learn more, contact Kimberly Vinall at

Thanks to Our Supporters!

The LEAD program has benefited from generous support by 

We welcome your support, too. You can make a donation through the Foothill-De Anza Foundation's "Give Now" webpage. Be sure to designate your gift by typing LEAD in the box marked "Other." 

Academic Subjects

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

  • Chicano Studies
  • Economics
  • Environmental Studies
  • Language Arts
  • Linguistics
  • Political Science
  • Women's 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 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 a jump-start for the Jean Miller Women, Gender and Sexualities Resource Room. 


Alicia Cortez

Dean, Equity and Engagement

 Office Location

Building MLC, Room 250
View on map

Media Learning Center

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


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