Who We Are

Let’s be clear about something. This isn’t some nice after-school program.

Sure they’re young. But young people don’t enter through our doors just for fun. They come here looking to make change.

They see what’s going on in our neighborhoods. In our communities. In our country. They notice the liquor stores on every corner, the payday loan sharks, the prison-like school systems. These symptoms of the vast inequities within our society, and they know it.

They aren’t going to wait for someone else to make it better. So young people are banding together — drawing on the immense assets within themselves and their communities — to confront these systemic problems head on.

These are the youth of 21st century America. Well-informed and articulate. Unafraid to speak up. They know that regular people have the power to form movements and to impact policies and societal norms. They believe – know – that they can create change. This is leadership, redefined.

At YLI, we support just that. We harness all that energy, that passion, that uncompromising optimism, and shape it into something powerful and transformative. Our team of adult allies acts as mentors and sounding boards. Our suite of proprietary training tools guides young people in how to be articulate presenters, capable listeners, compelling storytellers, dogged organizers, savvy politicians and inspiring community advocates.

And our history shows that we are succeeding: young people have secured 122 policy wins across the state. Wins that directly affect our communities. And we’re taking what we’ve learned alongside youth to organizations all over the world through our Training and Consulting Services.

Change happens when conversations take place. At Youth Leadership Institute, we believe that conversations of real significance only occur when all voices are heard. And we’re here to ensure that youth voice is heard. Loud and clear.