Our discussions with YLA students have generated innovative, viable ideas that will help strengthen school-based collaboration between students and adult partners. We are excited to share with teachers and administrators the ideas shared at BSACs that we will implement next year!

Meredith McDermott, Director of Sustainability

NYC Department of Education

You’re not born to lead, you’re trained to lead, and that’s what the YLA does. It allows you to start within and impact the world.

Yazmin Abdullah, YLA Participant 2017-2018

Business of Sports School

Coro means being immersed in a welcoming community that creates platforms for strong leaders to voice their truth and grow. The YLA has opened doors to opportunities that have helped me reach my full potential.

Kay Galarza, YLA Participant 2017-2018

Baruch College Campus High School

The YLA taught me that being a leader doesn’t mean you always have to be speaking from the front. Sometimes leadership comes from the person behind the scenes with a leading vision

Nicollette Phillips, NYC PEP Representative, YLA Participant 2017-2018

Queens High School for Language Studies

The YLA is a weapon for idealists who want their visions to come alive. It empowers youth to empower their schools, communities, and the world.

Kazi Sultana, YLA Participant 2017-2018

Queens High School for the Sciences at York College


In partnership with the New York City Department of Education (DOE), Coro’s Youth Leadership Academy (YLA) for Borough Student Advisory Councils (BSACs) builds the leadership skills and capacity of young New Yorkers to weigh in on policies that impact their daily lives as public school students. The YLA offers 28 selected high school students intensive training and hands-on experience as Youth Partner Facilitators to co-lead BSACs with DOE adult staff. Together, through authentic youth-adult partnerships, they plan and facilitate BSAC meetings and activities that empower youth in each borough to advocate for school, community and system change.


The Youth Leadership Academy aims to train youth in critical leadership competencies which will prepare them to work effectively with key stakeholders. Through experiential learning opportunities, inquiry skills and strategic communication, youth are better equipped to address the greatest challenges facing our city.

Program Components:

  • Two-week Summer Institute (July 16th through July 27th)
  • Five YLA Days held on Saturdays or non-instructional days during school year and one Youth-Adult Partnership (YAP) Day
  • Attend and help facilitate one BSAC city-wide event.
  • Participate in individual check-in meetings 3 times a year at Coro.
  • A minimum of 6 hours of service per month for BSAC related work. *Actual hours determined by Climate Manager and YPF.

*Participants will earn a stipend for successful completion of the program schedule requirements listed above.


The Network
The YLA brings together a network of civic-minded students of diverse backgrounds committed to lifting up youth voices and leading change. Upon graduation from the YLA, they join an accomplished community of Coro alumni from all industries and sectors who are dedicated to supporting one another and improving the City so that it is a better place to live, work, and learn.

The Knowledge
YLA Youth Partner Facilitators (YPFs) gain direct experience working with adult partners in the DOE to lead change. They learn about critical policies and practices that influence students city-wide and become engaged in the tough conversations most related to school culture, safety, relationships, and creating supportive learning environments in NYC schools. Serving as ambassadors and liaisons for their school-based peers, YPFs also listen to and amplify the voices of students who may otherwise not be heard.

The Skills
Participants will gain a deeper understanding of education policy, the skills to engage their peers and other community members in decision-making processes, and the opportunity to make a real and lasting impact in the school system.


What impact does the YLA have on those who participate?  These results from our mid-year survey demonstrates that the impact begins as soon as the program starts.  By February 2018:

  • 87% of participants feel strong in their ability to build relationships with adults.
  • 96% of participants feel that youth and adults are very effective in the exchanging of ideas with one another, while 87% of participants feel that youth and adults are very effective in providing each other with constructive feedback.
  • 83% of participants feel that youth and adults are very effective when co-leading projects, in addition to 74% who feel youths and adults are very effective when co-facilitating meetings.
  • 90% of participants felt they are strongly able to identify inequities in the community, and 81% felt they are strong in coming up with ideas and solutions to advance equity.

These results demonstrate that participants get the benefit of the Skills, Knowledge and Network right away and have the chance to continue to hone through throughout the program – and beyond.


The impact of the Youth Leadership Academy starts as soon as the program begins and lasts a lifetime. Alumni of the YLA take the skills, knowledge and network that they gain during the course of the program and use them in order to create change.  Youth go on to contribute their voices, perspectives, skills and talents to enhance equity and level the playing field for themselves, their peers, their families, schools and broader communities. Learn more about what our graduates are doing to put their training to use:


2014-15 Alum Frantzy Luzincourt (Brooklyn South BSAC)

Frantzy now serves as the Director of Policy and Organizational Strategy for IntegrateNYC where he hosts monthly city-wide youth council meetings on school integration. He was also appointed to the Mayor and Chancellor’s School Diversity Advisory Group where they are going to examine the school system and then make formal policy recommendations. Watch him speak here.


2015-16 Alum and 2016-17 Intern Walter Logan (Brooklyn South BSAC)

Walter serves on the Mayor’s Task Force for Gender Equity and introduced the first lady at this year’s State of the City Address, which you can view here.


2015-16 Alum Ronnica Baptiste (Brooklyn South BSAC)

During her summer internship at NYC Smoke Free at Public Health Solutions, Ronnica spent her time researching tobacco density in her neighborhood and tobacco advertising to children and teens. With that information, she was able to write an Op-ed that talked about how the existence of tobacco in her neighborhood affected her everyday life. The Op-ed was sent in and published in her local neighborhood paper, The Canarsie Courier.


2016-17 Alum Kenny Oyewole (Staten Island BSAC)

Kenny Oyewole was interviewed on local NYC news station NY1 and spoke on the importance of youth voices against gun violence.


Candidate Requirements:

  • Entering 10th – 12th grade in the coming school year
  • Is a returning BSAC member and/or committed to ongoing BSAC involvement.
  • Recommended by school staff/and or Climate Managers in charge of their respective BSAC.
  • Demonstrated interest or curiosity in education policy and civic engagement.
  • Desire to strengthen leadership skills and be a community changemaker.
  • Ability to commit to a rigorous program schedule.
Program Fees are waived due to the generous support of our funders.

Apply Today

Applications for YLA are now closed and will reopen in early summer 2019.


View the brochure or download to pass on to a friend.


Learn more about the YLA from student BSAC leaders, facilitators, and adult partners.


Please contact Staci Taustine, Director of Youth Leadership Academy, at staci@coro.nyc or 212-248-2935


Coro’s youth programs are generously supported by the NYC Department of Education, NYC Service, The Pinkerton Foundation, The Bulova Stetson Foundation, The W. Clement & Jessie V. Stone Foundation, New York Life, and TD Bank.