Tomorrow’s Leaders

Far from giving up on young people who face obstacles in their daily lives or who have made mistakes, Sasha Bruce Youthwork believes that youth who have opportunities and guidance to help them change their lives can become tomorrow’s leaders. Young people who have participated in SBY programs have gone on to be successful students who graduate at the top of their classes, excellent employees who pursue careers of their choice, and responsible parents, partners, and citizens. When they feel like no one cares about them or believes in them, it’s easy to see why teenagers get discouraged and disengage. Sasha Bruce Youthwork staff work to ensure that every young person knows that she has the potential for a bright future.

Sasha Bruce Youthwork recently expanded its leadership-building work in DC’s Ward 8 with a new program called Youthled. The goal of Youthled is to use the tools of positive youth development to organize young people in Southeast Washington’s poorest communities to lead their own efforts for structural change in their communities. Every school-day, students at Ballou High School can expect to see Erica Edwards or Adam Angel encouraging them not only to see what Youthled is all about, but to make it what they want it to be. Activism, community service, art activities and educational programming are all possibilities at Youthled.

Programs like Youthled which use a positive youth development approach are important for releasing the potential of young people and encouraging them to improve their communities and realize high levels of personal achievement. As our newest program continues to develop, it will be another example of the important work the agency does in educational contexts, not only improving the prospects of youth in the DC public school system, but treating them as individuals entitled to basic dignity and capable of contributing to their communities.

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