The Young Leaders' Academy (YLA) was founded in November 1994, to provide young African-American males with strong role models, academic support and community service activities. The organization helps students avoid poor academic performance and crime in this low-income region.
Members of the YLA participate in the program for 10 years. During the elementary and junior high school years, the boys are involved in five different programs: Summer Academy, Saturday Academy, After-School Tutorial, Mentor Program and Community Service Program.
The Summer Academy integrates academics into field trips, team building and problem solving. The Saturday Academy reinforces these skills. The After-School Tutorial provides academic instruction that is tailored to each member's needs.
In addition, the Mentor Program provides YLA members with professional, African-American mentors for social development. Once a month through the Community Service Program, each member works with a local nonprofit organization to promote civic responsibility and moral leadership.
While in high school, the boys give back to the program by serving as tutors and junior mentors to the younger members, again promoting civic responsibility. They are also eligible for internships offered by local corporations. At this age, YLA programs focus on preparing participants to enter the workforce.
Each year, the YLA adds a class of 40 boys. With each new class, the YLA mobilizes more young people to assist in solving community problems.