Hispañas Youth Leadership Program (HYLP)

HYLP is the youth component of the statewide program, Hispañas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE). The program is designed to prepare low-income, high school-age Latinas for higher education as well as future personal and professional success. Every year, four young women from eight counties across the state are selected to participate. yli administers the program in Fresno County.

HOPE really changed the way that I see myself, it made me realize the importance of giving back and being involved in civic engagement. I now have the tools to make a difference within my community.
Priscilla Vidal

Each cycle, the cohort attends leadership training, meets with local elected officials, and conducts a survey of their fellow Latina students about a range of issues that affect them. Based on survey results, the young women create a video that presents the problem, the research, and their recommendations for improving the quality of life for Latinas in the county to Fresno’s City Council. In spring, they participate in Latina Action Day in Sacramento to advocate for youth in the areas of education, health and immigration.

I never imagined that I would be in a room full of strong, empowering, and educated Latina women, and one day I will contribute to the rising number of educated Latinas.
Lizbeth Gutierrez

Motivated by the tragic death of George Floyd and the resulting protests calling for justice, this past year’s HYLP cohort chose to focus on race-related issues in the Latina high school community in the Central Valley. They added additional questions regarding race relations and Ethnic Studies in their High School Latina Opportunity Survey that focuses on issues High School Latina youth face in their communities, and advocated for Ethnic Studies to be implemented in the Fresno County School curriculum.

Interested in joining?

This 6-month program is open to Latinas who are juniors in Fresno County high schools. Applicants can apply between November-December each year. Participants meet every other week between January and June, and are expected to attend three statewide conferences.