Four years ago, I joined YLA in the same manner a new recruit joins the military: trembling, nervous, and slightly underfed. When I first signed up to be a member, I believed YLA was merely another run-of-the-mill social clubs established by absentee “mentors” and experts but ultimately distant “educators” that would prove to be just another glittering ornament on my college applications. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that YLA cured this fallacious conviction. Though the organization boasts a vast array of leadership training courses, experts, and authorities in almost every conceivable professional field, and a slew of the most inspired, interested, and innovative affiliates and associates I have yet to come across, it one defining feature, its irreplaceable spark of originality and character that distinguishes it from every and any other club, group, or society is simply and beautifully the care and devotion of its members. Every last person involved in YLA from the nascent recruits to the seasoned board members to the council of founders themselves has invested themselves, their effort, and their precious time whole-heartedly into fostering a culture of confidence, development, and encouragement for its students and patrons that has trasnformed me from a timorous coward who thought that they had little to offer into a proud and confident master of his own destiny. So how has YLA impacted my life? Simple, its given me one.
~Josh Thomas (Class of 2007-2008)
Youth Leadership America has transformed me into a more confident and passionate person. The organization introduced me to many influential community leaders and successful entrepreneurs, which provided me with great networking opportunities. YLA continues to serve as a family for me to learn from.
~Maariyah Patel (Class of 2010-2011, Youth Board 2011-2012)
Being in YLA is something that I had not at all expected. Many of the people I met on the first day have become some of my closest friends, and some of the speakers at the events have become my mentors. Joining YLA was definitely the highlight of my senior year, and my only regret was not joining sooner. I had an amazing time learning and experiencing all things related to leadership and I truly connected with so many people. Join the Youth Leadership of America and you will not regret it!
~Esther Kim, (Class of 2012)
Dedication, ambition, and enthusiasm. These are the few of many adjectives that give meaning to those people who we call leaders. Some people assume that a such great leaders, like Abraham Lincoln or Martin Luther King Jr., were born with the superb poise and integrity that a leader possesses. Wrong. I reject the idea of a “natural-born” leader because I myself was MADE into a leader with the help of a program called YLA, Youth Leadership America. From the start of my scholastic career, I was always known as that shy girl in the back of the classroom. You know, the one that would play by herself during break or would sit there silently and not raise her hand even though she knew the answer. Yes, that was me. However, once I entered my junior year of high school, I decided it was time for a change. I didn’t want to be known as the shy girl. I wanted something more of myself. I wanted to be the girl that would approach everybody and give them a friendly gesture. Or the girl who would not be afraid to stand in front of a crowd and lead a club meeting. Or the girl who could accomplish so many things. YLA was the answer and,after only the first day in the program, I began to change and start acting like a leader. There was meetings where leaders in the community taught me, as well as my peers, about professionalism, confidence, and teamwork. From start to finish, YLA was a joyride! I approached things like a leader, talked like a leader, and even dressed like a leader by the end of it! Thanks to YLA, I have been able to land leadership roles in numerous clubs, two internships, and even a job! All I can say is thank you YLA for bringing out the shy girl persona from behind and making her into a leader.
~Jessica Toledo (Class of 2012)
YLA teaches you more than you would expect. The greatest thing about it is that it’s made of high school students FOR high school students. In the course of 14 weeks the things they teach you are essential not just for school, but also for everyday things that you could improve on, ultimately developing your leadership skills. I can tell you all about this program but my words can’t describe it all. I knew for a fact that I was shy. I let chances pass by. I knew I needed to fix this because later on I wanted to approach people. I decided to join YLA and every week was a major improvement.By the time it was over I helped also helped in the 7DD (Seven Day Dental) Project, which was a huge success. In addition I even ran for the ASB position of Sophomore VP, something I would have never imagined myself doing if it weren’t for this program. Here at YLA, they guide you in a path that truly helps you develop yourself.
~Bill Vill (Class of 2012)
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