Promising Models

Social Justice Learning Institute


SJLI works to create social change and advance academic, food, environmental, and housing justice via student empowerment and advocacy. SJLI has been key in building partnerships that foster college-prep, increase health awareness, and mobilize systemic change.

Nonprofit youth development program

Dedicated to improving the education, health, and well-being of youth and communities of color by empowering them to enact social change through research, training, and community mobilization.

Social Justice Learning Institute

The Social Justice Learning Institute is being highlighted for its work with youth, schools and city officials to increase educational opportunities and health access through innovative wraparound community programs, initiatives, and projects. We believe that youth development, nonprofit programs like SJLI can serve as a model for ways in which organizations can build and maintain productive partnerships to facilitate the conditions that advance social change.

Academic Preparation & Student Achievement

Social Justice Learning Institute specializes in culturally relevant learning, teaching, and curriculum development, which supports positive identity growth, increases academic competencies, and expands opportunities for civic participation. Since 2009, more than 500 students have graduated from its Urban Scholars program, a college-prep initiative that provides guidance counseling and exposure to university campuses. Urban Scholars programming also provides heritage-based education for sixteen partnering schools in Los Angeles, Antelope Valley, and Houston, Texas. Additionally, SJLI’s Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) trains over 2000 community members annually across 30 sites, championing community engagement around nutrition and health.

Community Partnerships

SJLI Urban Scholars program partners with the Houston chapter of My Brother’s Keeper, an initiative launched during the Obama administration to help youth of color achieve academic and career success. The institute also partners with the Liberty Hill Foundation’s Brothers, Sons, Selves Coalition, which works to improve outcomes for boys and young men of color by advocating for positive alternatives to school suspension and working to reduce the criminalization of communities of color, leads weekly field trips to top medical centers and organizations, and exposure to additional STEM, medical, and technical and medical career path professions.