Empower: Building Leaders, Strengthening Communities


Our interactive nine-week workshop series provides
knowledge, skills and resources
to help create and lead Grassroots change

Workshops also provide the opportunity to expand professional and personal networks by connecting with other Lowell activists.  Participants put their training into action by planning and implementing a project or projects designed to strengthen their neighborhood group(s), or the city as a whole. 


workshop topics include:

  • Leadership style and organizational skills

  • How City Hall works - and how to work with City Hall

  • Communicating your idea and running good meetings

  • Conflict management skills

  • Identifying and leveraging community resources

  • Organizing for change

  • Project planning and implementation


After the program, Participants will be able to:

  • Organize people for positive outcomes

  • Use leadership concepts and skills to become more effective leaders and communicators

  • Pursue common goals in collaborative partnerships

  • Improve communication and understanding between low-income residents and mainstream leaders/people in power

  • Develop and implement effective community-building projects

  • Create positive change at neighborhood or city-wide levels

I absolutely loved the Empower training, and have been bragging about it to anyone who will listen. You guys did such a great job each and every week, and the content and focus of the training was helpful for me, especially in learning about community organizing.
— Helina Fontes, Fall 2017

Program Details

Who can participate?
Anyone who is interested in learning how to create positive change and improve the quality of life in Lowell. Priority is given to those already active in grassroots or informal community groups, who are currently working to improve conditions in their neighborhood(s) and/or can identify and describe community issues they would like to impact.

How much does the program cost?
Empower is free to Lowell residents accepted into the program.

When do Empower workshops take place?
The Spring 2019 program will run from March 21 - May 16.  We offer Empower annually and are presently considering two sessions a year.  Our pilot Empower program was held in Fall 2016.

How do I sign up? 
Our 2019 spring program is accepting applications now - click here to sign up!

For more information or to ask questions before applying, please email Nancy Coan.

Who offers this program?
Empower is a collaboration between Lowell Alliance and Coalition for a Better Acre

If you’d like updates about this and other Lowell Alliance programs, sign up for our newsletter!  


Our 2018 program was supported by United Way.
Contact us to become a sponsor!



Group Community-Building Projects - Spring 2017

After the workshop series, Empower participants continue on with group projects designed to create changes that benefit the Lowell community as a whole.  Workshops help prepare participants to effectively "pitch" an idea to other community members.  A class vote decides on the top two ideas participants would like to implement, and the class breaks into two working groups to plan the projects.

Drum Circle


Canal Cleanup

Despite the challenges of cold and potentially wet weather, a successful canal cleanup between Hanover and Moody Streets took place in late November 2017. Organizers Lorraine Farmer and Victor Berardi had both noticed neglected canal areas while out on walks, and wanted to make at least one of these sites more beautiful for both residents and visitors.  With the help of their working group, they engaged both volunteers and local agencies and businesses nearby, including Jeanne D'Arc, Lowell House, and Lowell National Historical Park. Free coffee helped with the cold weather, and the results of their hard work speak for themselves.


Fall 2016 Projects

  • Traffic light safety - The Empower group identified an issue with traffic patterns at a busy downtown intersection, which made pedestrian crossing unsafe. After an initial contact, the group learned that City officials had already begun work on this issue. Group members were invited to meet with traffic engineers to review plans and provide feedback, an important outcome in helping break down barriers and understand how the process of change works in inside the government

  • "Dollar" food bags - The idea of offering a "dollar" weekly shopping excursion, to fill a reusable bag with donated food, proved too challenging to implement, as it was the equivalent of a small non-profit start-up. Sometimes translating a creative idea into reality may exceed the available time and resources of the group, a big consideration when working for change in the community.

Interested in Empower? Let us know!

Fill out this form, and we will be in touch with you as soon as we can.

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