Gus Garcia Young Men's Leadership Academy


COBRA and VOICES are highly successful chapter-based leadership development programs for students who are ready for opportunities to sharpen their social, emotional, academic and leadership skills. COBRA and VOICES empower youth from underserved communities to make positive life choices and contributions to their schools and communities by cultivating their academic, leadership, and critical thinking skills.

We meet every Wednesday, from 3:00 - 3:40p.m.

Program Structure

COBRA and VOICES chapters meet once per week during their host school’s advisory period or lunch, or in some instances, after school. Each chapter has 12-30 members and is led by facilitators who are trained by ICUSP, the Institute for Community, University and School Partnerships. Chapter participants attend at least two field trips per year.

The meetings follow a culturally and contextually relevant format that has been developed by ICUSP project directors. Meetings follow a routine – venting, accountability, celebrations, conversation/activity and closing – that was developed by members of the first chapter in 2006. Meetings, field trips and additional activities are aligned with six tenets. These are:

1. Academic Engagement

2. Brothers and Sisters Supporting one another

3. Bridges across Groups

4. Conflict Resolution

5. Critical Consciousness

6. Defining Yourself for Yourself

Student Selection

  • Be recommended by a teacher, school administrator, staff member or peer
  • Complete an information sheet
  • Obtain parent/guardian consent

Benefits of participation

When compared to participants’ peers within the same schools, COBRA and VOICES students have:

  • lower disciplinary referral rates
  • better grades
  • better school attendance rates
  • higher college going rates

Contact Information

Executive Director - Dr. Kevin Michael Foster -

Student Programs Director - Gina Tillis -