YLC provides youth with tangible leadership skills and sparks a passion for social change through a five-day conference which empowers students to create a service project and become change makers in both their communities and the world.
Youth Lead the Change (YLC) is a five-day program for high schoolers in which students work in teams to understand an issue they care about and create a social change project to address it. Throughout this process, students learn about their own passions and strengths, as well as core leadership skills such as collaboration, public speaking, time management and empathy. The students also gain one-on-one coaching from the Harvard trainers, who continue to serve as mentors after the program. Students also have the opportunity to earn funding and support to implement their project after the YLC camp ends through our “YLC GO!” initiative.
The program was designed by a team of Harvard University students in the Leadership Institute at Harvard College (LIHC), a student-run organization devoted to training the next generation of global leaders at Harvard. Realizing that we often learn best by teaching and practice, a group of students in LIHC conceived of a program that would teach leadership to youth, thereby empowering others while also developing our own skills. After an initial partnership with Citizen Schools in Boston in 2009-2010, the leaders of YLC decided to expand the program beyond Boston in order to increase our impact. We have since taught in multiple cities in the US over the summer, as well as in Bhutan, Myanmar, Japan, and most recently in Puerto Rico. To date, over 700 students around the world have been impacted by YLC programs, and that number continues to grow each year.