YLI's four program goals:

  • Develop youths' understanding of themselves and their culture
  • Equip youth with the knowledge, skills and qualities needed for leadership
  • Encourage youths' appreciation for the culture of others and promote cross-cultural leadership
  • Build youth leadership through meaningful engagement in real community issues

YLI's program activities:

Program Components

  • Learning Retreats
  • Cultural Exploration Sessions
  • Action Teams
  • School Support
Sixty youth between the ages of 14–18 will participate in a year long commitment, which consist of four quarterly encampments, cultural exploration sessions and action teams. Each encampment lasts three days, two nights. The encampment includes cultural and historical experiences, team-building activities, workshops on various leadership and social skills. Cultural exploration session youth will explore their culture and heritage and its impact on their leadership style and personal development. Action teams learn about topics such as understanding community, facilitation meetings and planning projects. Each team develops service projects in the community around their passions.

Who can join YLI?

Youth ages 14–18 living in St. Paul or the east metro area willing to make a year commitment. Youth must agree to attend and participate in the retreats, cultural exploration sessions and action teams.

How much does it cost to participate?

The program is free to the participants.

Program Components

  • Learning Retreats: Youth attend three multicultural learning retreats where they explore concepts of leadership, strengthen cross-cultural relationships and participate in experiential learning activities that focus on working effectively with others. The retreats take place in October, February and May.
  • Cultural Exploration Sessions Youth meet in culturally specific cohorts. Aided by a Cultural Coach, youth explore their culture and heritage and its impact on their leadership style and personal development. Cultural Sessions meets every other Tuesday from 4:00-6:30 p.m. from November through May.
  • Action Teams: Youth participate in weekly multicultural teams that focus on providing service to the community. Action Teams meet weekly from 4:00–6:30 p.m., beginning the first week in November through May.
  • School Support: Youth will discuss the importance of education, set school improvement goals, learn about higher education and are provided with structured support based on individual needs. School Support meets every other Tuesday from 4:00–6:30 p.m. from November through May.


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 AmeriCorps Positions


​The Youth Leadership Initiative has two exciting fellowship opportunities.

We are looking for:

An AmeriCorps VISTA to help us with an exciting new venture. Find out more about this position.

An AmeriCorps Promise Fellow to help support our students. Find out more about this position.