“Leadership is a tool you use to help yourself grow as a person and to help others grow. Whether you’re in the front or back, it’s all about the idea that counts and putting your best foot forward to help others.”


Keyshane Whitley (YLA 2015-16)

Transit Tech High School




“Leadership is being able to look at what is going on to gain multiple points of view. This helps to create a deeper understanding of what you want to fix.”


Ronnica Baptiste (YLA 2015-16)

STAR Early College High School



“I would recommend this to anyone who truly believes they have the capability of becoming a world changing leader.”

Melissa Sipione (YLA 2015-16)

Port Richmond High School


The Youth Leadership Academy (YLA) is grounded in the belief that the educational system is more effective when its policies are shaped by the young people it serves. In partnership with the New York City Department of Education (DOE), the YLA provides leadership training to students serving on its citywide Borough Student Advisory Councils (BSACs).


The Youth Leadership Academy starts in the summer and runs throughout the school year. Participants must commit to the following:

  • A 2-week Summer Intensive
  • 5 YLA Days held on Saturdays or other non-instructional days during the school year.

Adult Training Academy: Adults who work with BSAC members undergo an interactive three-day summer training session and ongoing coaching throughout the school year. This continuous support enables adult partners to develop their own capacity for leadership and collaboration while learning strategies to strengthen BSACs and empower youth members.


The YLA prepares BSAC members with knowledge and skills to assess how policies impact students, explore ways they can influence change as young leaders, and bring greater youth voice to DOE policies that affect student success. Participants gain a deep understanding of DOE structure, educational policy, and how key issues impact their school communities. Through experiential activities, participants learn and develop self-awareness, teamwork, communication, and critical-thinking skills.

Recognizing the importance of adult-youth partnerships, the YLA also trains BSAC adult facilitators to support and reinforce members’ leadership development and policy understanding. By training both BSAC participants and their adult partners, the YLA aims to strengthen BSACs as a critical advisory resource for the DOE.

In addition to completing more than 80 hours of leadership training, participants can:

  • Practice strategies for working effectively in groups and leading teams
  • Build confidence in public speaking
  • Understand their personal leadership style and how to work with other styles
  • Learn how to collaborate with young people from different backgrounds with diverse perspectives
  • Join a network of BSAC youth leaders from across the city
  • Apply YLA hours towards high school community service requirements
  • Gain personal and professional experience for resumes and college applications
  • Earn a participation stipend

An ideal YLA participant meets the following criteria:

  • Entering 10th, 11th, or 12th grade at a DOE high school
  • Selected by school leadership
  • A BSAC member for the upcoming school year
  • Interested in strengthening leadership skills, understanding education policy, representing the voice of young people to the DOE, and sharing YLA training with the greater BSAC group
Program Fees are waived due to the generous support of our funders.

Apply Today

Applications for YLA 2016-2017 are now closed.


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


Learn more about the work of the YLA and meet some of our participants and facilitators.


Please contact Cynthia Wong, Director of Youth Leadership Academy, at cwong@coronewyork.org or 212-248-2935 ext. 325.


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

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