Preparing the next generation of civic and community leaders to build healthier communities
The Abbott Leadership Institute
Preparing the next generation of civic and community leaders to build healthier communities
The Abbott Leadership Institute
Grant Award Amount

The Abbott Leadership Institute (ALI) is leading this three-year project, in which a total of 30 youth from Newark, ages 14-21, are receiving guidance from trained community-based coaches, to better understand topics around population health, develop leadership skills, and implement self-designed projects to make their communities healthier. By the end of this project, the youth participants will have the skills, knowledge, and confidence to work with municipal governments, cross-sector coalitions focused on health, school boards, and other organizations to build healthier and more vibrant communities. The youth will also participate in a statewide alumni network to stay connected to their peers as they continue on their leadership paths and move into the next phases of their lives. To advance this work in Newark, ALI is partnering with Mayor Ras Baraka, Rutgers-Newark’s Law School and Biomedical and Health Sciences, Newark’s Department of Health, law enforcement officials, as well as community service providers and residents. These Newark youth represent one of 10 New Jersey communities supported through the NJHI: Next Generation Community Leaders initiative.

In the first grant year, a team of Newark youth worked to research and evaluate chronic absenteeism from a youth perspective. In Summer 2018, the team partnered with youth to learn why they miss school, and developed ideas to improve existing programs intended to address the issue. View their presentation here. For their Summer 2019 project, a new youth team partnered with the South Ward Children’s Alliance of Neighborhood Youth Allies to connect families with available health resources which include services that promote resiliency and address food insecurity. The youth team also began the process of joining the Alliance’s advisory board to sustain this work. Follow the team on Facebook, plus

  • See an overview of all of the Next Generation Community Leaders teams’ summer projects here. View a summary of the 2018 summer projects here.  Learn more about their 2019 summer projects here.
  • Get a statewide view of this work, and connect with the nearest team at #NJLeaders2030.
New-Ark Leaders of Health
Grant Recipient

Kaleena Berryman
Acting Director
(973) 353-3560

Deborah Walker-McCall
Associate Dean & Director
(973) 353-3577

Hear alumni from the first-year Next Generation Community Leaders teams reflect on their work, the value of meaningful experiences and authentic adult-youth partnerships, and share new insights that developed a broader perspective.


View recommendations from this initiative:

Atkins, B. and Hart, D.  Principles for Engaging Youth as Partners to Build Healthier CommunitiesGrantmakers in Health – Views from the Field. January 28, 2020.

Follow the latest news coverage regarding NJHI: Next Generation Community Leaders:

‘It’s Really Heart-Wrenching’: Newark High School Seniors Worry Coronavirus will Disrupt Prom, Graduation
Chalkbeat/Wall, P. (2020, March 31).

Why Don’t Kids Go to School? Students Have Their Say
NJ Spotlight/Sitrin, C. (2019, February 6).

‘We’re doing it to help all of us’: In Newark, Student-Researchers Ask Their Peers Why They Miss School.
Chalkbeat/Wall, P. (2018, December 18).
NJ Spotlight. (2017, July 12).
SNJ Today. (2017, July 12).

View All: NJHI 2017: Next Generation Community Leaders