Safe Streets began collaboration with area schools in over 20 years ago to encourage students to take charge in their lives, schools and communities. Youth Leading Change began in 1996 as an empowerment program for youth at traditionally under-served schools, and has evolved into a vibrant community of students leading peer education and prevention programs.
Today, Safe Streets supports YLC programs in Mount Tahoma, Lincoln, Stadium, Wilson, Foss and Washington high schools, as well as Gray, Giaudrone and Keithley Middle Schools. The impact of the youth in these programs is significant—more than 7,000 students will be affected each year by YLC programs and projects.
Through the club, Safe Streets gives students the knowledge and skills necessary to serve as leaders and empowers them to take a stand and educate others. Students in Youth Leading Change chapters countywide unite to systematically address issues in their schools and community, including drug use, teen suicide and underage drinking.
Core Youth Leaders in each YLC chapter lead their classmates in project planning and implementation, and work with other Core Youth Leaders to coordinate efforts and campaigns. Though youth manage the club’s activities, they are supervised and supported by a Safe Streets Youth Mobilizer and an adviser from the school campus.
Youth Leading Change high school members can apply to serve as advisers for middle school club, joining teachers, coaches and Safe Streets youth mobilizers in supporting and supervising club meetings and activities.
Students and parents can learn more about YLC at the Youth Leading Change Facebook page. If your school does not have a YLC chapter and you’re interested in starting one, please contact Operations Program Manager Wanda Rochelle at firstname.lastname@example.org.