Youth Leading Change

Through our Youth Leading Change chapters in Tacoma and Pierce County, we empower young people to become leaders in their communities.

YLC students say they experience:
  • An increased ability to lead. Students gain concrete skills that help them communicate with their peers and adults, problem-solve, and address conflict.
  • An inclusive environment. Not only do students feel personally included, but they also come to value inclusivity as part of a healthy group dynamic.
  • Increased bravery. Involvement in the group helps them develop the courage to explore activities that interest them

To learn more about Youth Leading Change or to join, contact

How do we support YLC chapters?

We support students by helping them prepare for successful adulthood with practical support for their chapter meetings and campaigns, leadership training, opportunities to form strong relationships with their peers and adult advocates.

Practical Support For Youth Chapters

Our youth mobilization specialists:
  • Attend weekly virtual school-based YLC meetings throughout Tacoma and Pierce County.
  • Support student campaigns by helping them identify and plan for obstacles, providing materials, and attending virtual events.
  • Stay in touch with school principals and counselors in order to provide youth with wraparound accountability and support.

Leadership Training For Youth

Our leadership training workshops cover topics such as:
  • Conflict resolution
  • Project planning
  • Communication skills
  • Teamwork

In the past, we have leadership camps and include youth in community conferences so they can build life and leadership skills and experience the power of coming together.

Disclaimer: These activities have been adapted into a virtual program in order to comply with the Tacoma Health Department and CDC guidelines on the prevention of COVID-19.

More Than an After-School Club

In the past, our staff members provided bonding opportunities for students by taking them on field trips, such as day hikes, or bringing students from different parts of the city together to work on a project.

Right now, our Youth Mobilization Specialists and youth engage with one another through virtual meetings. In these meetings, build meaningful bonds and exchange in dialogue around social justice and advocacy work. Additionally, have hosted workshops on cooking, using YouTube, and even taught them how to sew by assembling masks for themselves and their family.

But YLC is more than that. It’s a powerful resource to help students plan for and launch themselves into adulthood.

Our staff helps students explore and plan for their futures by:
  • Giving students tools that help them decide on a career path.
  • Connecting students with people who can advise them about a future career.


The Youth Leading Change program emerged from community mobilization efforts in Tacoma during the 1990s, when community members organized against gang violence and spoke out about the need to provide accountability and support for Tacoma and Pierce County youth. 

It worked. As youth started to step away from gangs, Safe Streets started talking about a program that would invite youth into positive community work. In 1996, Safe Streets launched YLC.

Today, we support chapters in eight middle schools and high schools and run a community YLC chapter for youth in any Tacoma or Pierce County middle or high school.