Tall Turf was founded with the intent to see disparate groups of people brought together under the umbrella of a biblical model of reconciliation. Today, one of the ways this happens best is through our Leaders In Training (LIT) Program. Our LIT program is designed to create young leaders from all backgrounds who have both an awareness of community issues and the means to be able to affect lasting change. Our goals are to develop a generation of young people who are able to thrive in an increasingly global society, but are also committed to local community transformation.
Raising Awareness: LITs receive extensive training about issues that are relevant to the communities that they live in. Ranging from immigration and gang violence to environmental justice, our young people are intimately involved in choosing the topics that they want to know more about. We then seek local professionals who are well versed in these areas to educate our LITs on the intricacies of these issues.
Community Transformation: We believe that it is essential for young people to be equipped and empowered with the necessary tools to affect change. Our LITs have received citywide recognition for their recent involvement in the "Stop the Violence" campaign. Their voice at community meetings allowed city officials to have a more realistic picture of the difficulties faced by young people in Grand Rapids. We encourage our LITs to be active civic participants.
Racial Equity: One of the undergirding principles for the LIT program is its emphasis on racial equity. A 2012 report found Grand Rapids to be the 13th least equitable major metropolitan area in the U.S. As a result, many of the issues that our young people seek to address often have intimate ties to deeply embedded structural racism. The LIT program teaches young people how racism impacts everybody negatively, and equips them with the necessary tools to be actively anti-racist.