COIL: Community Organizing Institute for Leadership



The Community Organizing Institute for Leadership (COIL) is designed to build the skills of participants to become change-makers in their communities.



What is CO


Community Organizing is the coordination of cooperative efforts carried out by local residents to address community issues and concerns.


Through COIL, you will build knowledge and skills in the following topics:




Program graduates will also:

  • Receive a Certificate of Completion
  • Receive a Leadership Toolkit
  • Be a part of a network of community-based organizers
  • Receive support and resources from a Health and Human Services, Public Health Community Organizer in doing an approved community organizing project


If you are interested in building the knowledge and skills to create the change your community needs,
complete and submit an application.

It's not too late to apply!

The deadline for Spring 2020 applications has been extended to January 31st!

 Spring Application

Spring 2020 Application (pdf)


Spring 2020 Application (MS Word)
(Not compatible with all browsers.)

To send your application:


By email:


By mail:
The Community Organizing Institute for Leadership
C/O Jonathan Chacko   
2650 Breslauer Way Redding, CA 96001



Spring Schedule

All sessions will be held at the Shasta County Health and Human Services Agency Public Health Branch
from 9am to 3:30pm.


Lunch will be provided.

Spring Schedule2


The COIL Experience:

What our participants have to say:

"I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in this expertly crafted leadership class. I have absolutely nothing but positive things to say. I loved every class! I had my mind stretched, met some truly impressive, caring, and supportive people. I learned from experienced, inspirational leaders, who celebrate our differences and give us what we, as unique individuals, needed to succeed. Bravo Shasta County Community Organizers!"

- Lori, 2019 COIL Participant


"I‘ve always had this natural instinct to talk to people, and my passion is developing opportunities and help for youth, especially those struggling with drugs and alcohol. I had some struggles as a young person, and I saw it with my sons: the lack of support, the suspensions. . .in the past, when I would go to school meetings, I wasn’t encouraged to give my opinion. They made me think they didn’t want to hear from me.

"But I’ve had great mentors in (HHSA Community Organizers) Sylvia Yzaguirre and Christine Haggard, and they encouraged me to join COIL. I realized I like to come up with a solution and zoom ahead. This has really taught me how to do one task, do it well and take it step by step.

It will also give us the ability to connect with real community people and to bridge the gaps between us and them."

- Anne, 2019 COIL Participant


"This county does have a sort of stigma against authority figures, but because we’re part of the community, we can relate to them and gain their trust. You have to be able to speak to community in a way they’re willing to hear. What I like about this training is it’s teaching us how to help the members of a community rise up together.

"I grew up here, and I was a very bored kid. When I came back, I wanted to work with troubled youth and tie that work to other projects that build healthy communities like permaculture or sustainability efforts. People here are very wonderful, but they’re very disconnected from each other.

"This training is teaching us to connect with community. They’re giving us tools, like how to conduct one to one meetings with an important person or how to organize house meetings to gather everyone, organize all of their ideas and put them into action."

 - Khai, 2019 COIL Participant


"The class is amazing. You hear the term community organizer, and you think of someone who knows exactly what to do all the time. But in this training you realize they have to figure it out at times, and that just made me feel like it was possible for me to do this too. 

"Nutrition is really important to me. I want to make it easier for people to have access to healthier food, so I’m hoping to use skills from these classes to pursue projects related to that.

"All the hands-on trainings really stand out to me. Today, with the strategy chart we made, it’s such a great way to understand where you’re going, if it’s realistic or not, and what the next step is."

  - Alexandria, 2019 COIL Participant


"The Community Organizers have taken their years and years of experience, broken it down and made it easy to follow.

"The instructors are amazing. They’re all so different, but they all have a heart for people. When you have people who are invested in and love they do, it motivates you too.

"I know how to gather people, but I’ve learned a lot about how to work with different kinds of people. Christine Haggard told us about a time she was working with farmers and how she had to work to identify the person in the group who had the influence to get things done. There’s always a group leader and learning tactics like that have been eye-opening."

 - Kathy, 2019 COIL Participant

COIL slideshow


Who We Are



Charlene Ramont

Charlene has a master’s degree in Public Health and a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She has been facilitating groups and working on grass tops organizing since 2007.  Charlene also has expertise in program management, collaborative coordination, and Collective Impact. She is a graduate of Boundary Spanning Leadership through the Center for Creative Leadership. She has an extensive tools repository for assisting diverse groups in truly reaching across boundaries and working as one unit rather than siloed, independent programs or organizations.

Charlene thinks and acts strategically, and works in collaboration to develop plans and build consensus. Charlene has subject matter expertise in public health particularly Social Determinants of Health, community organizing, asset-based community development, and health equity.





Christine Haggard   


Christine Haggard has served Shasta County as a Community Organizer since 2004, bringing years of experience and expertise to the Community Organizing Institute for Leadership.  With a focus on working with residents and community groups in south Shasta County, Christine has been engaged in a variety of issues and campaigns, identified and led by community members with a common goal for positive change.

“I believe that one of the essential components of organizing is getting to know people and building meaningful, collaborative relationships.  Through my work, I see the need and the value for engaging residents to organize around their own priorities and concerns.  The COIL training provides a great opportunity to build that capacity by sharing the principles, key elements, best practices and tools for creating the change residents want for their communities.”






Sylvia Yzaguirre

Since 1998, Sylvia Yzaguirre has committed herself to community well-being through direct service, education and community empowerment.  From her earlier years as a Community Health Advocate (CHA) to her current role as a Community Organizer, Sylvia has consistently provided support to Shasta County residents by connecting them with opportunities to thrive, and to lead.

Sylvia works diligently with the Hispanic residents of Shasta County to break down the unique barriers they face in achieving their full potential.  By bringing the knowledge and skills acquired working in Public Health and with other agencies, Sylvia  provides strong support to grass-roots efforts, which include partnerships with the Hispanic Latino Coalition of Shasta County; the Latina Support Group and Latinos in Action.  Sylvia has also worked with South County Latino Leadership to bring Mexican Consulate services to Shasta County.

“I am excited about COIL because it gives us an opportunity to enhance the skills of our community leaders, which supports them in taking their vision for a healthy community to the next level.”






Jonathon Freeman




Jonathon works as a Community Organizer with the Shasta County Health and Human Services Agency. With over twenty-five years of experience in Native community cultural continuance and expressive efforts, Jonathon has developed and led Indigenous, culturally focused programs and exhibitions. He has also designed and facilitated youth leadership capacity building efforts, worked in the non-profit field and has supported and served on a number of boards and committees.

Jonathon is a graduate of Deganawidah-Quetzalcoatl University and has a BS in Recreation Administration from California State University, Chico. He enjoys photography and is an avid trail runner.







Lisa Barry


Lisa Barry is the Community Organizer for Eastern Shasta County.  She is currently working with community groups to improve city parks - creating plans for usage, maintenance and sustainability. Obtaining a new and larger library facility is also a priority for the intermountain community. 

For over 18 years, Lisa has lived in Burney and enjoyed the beautiful natural resources the area has to offer.  She and her husband count kayaking and hiking with their dogs as their favorite hobbies.   She was formerly an elementary classroom teacher in Oregon and enjoys her new career and training others during COIL.







Shawn Van Leuven



As the newest addition to our team of Community Organizers, Shawn Van Leuven brings expertise from a broad expanse of experience in community work.  Originally from Sonoma County, Shawn had the opportunity to collaborate with community groups there to promote awareness and resources while working as an Alcohol and Other Drug Counselor and as a volunteer.  Her efforts included support for parents, human trafficking survivors, and those suffering from substance abuse disorder.  Shawn attended Santa Rosa Junior College, earning degrees in Human Services: Drug and Alcohol Studies, as well as Advocacy and Social and Behavioral Sciences.  Through this work, Shawn has developed a deep passion for fighting the stigma that discourages help-seeking and positive life changes for individuals struggling with issues related to substance abuse and mental health. 

Since her arrival, Shawn has enjoyed getting to know Shasta County community members and spending time in our beautiful environment. She and her son count themselves lucky to live in a place where there are so many outdoor activities as well as friendly community members.