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Youth Leadership Academy Youth Leadership Academy

Preparing Tomorrow's Leaders Today Preparing Tomorrow's Leaders Today

    • About Our Academy

      The Youth Leadership Academy (YLA) is a unique program providing a constructive, mentoring environment for students from low-income backgrounds who are statistically less likely to attend college than their non-low-income peers.

      We engage and inspire youth to maximize their potential to become successful community leaders through the access and responsible utilization of post-secondary education.

      Students are selected during the 2nd semester of 6th grade and begin Academy activities at the start of 7th grade. The program continues through 12th grade and ends with two years free tuition to Elgin Community College. Approximately 25 students are selected based on their applications, recommendations, family interviews and availability of program funds.

      Students participate in the Academy by attending leadership training sessions held two Saturday mornings per month starting in August through May at Elgin Community College. They are also required to communicate with their leadership groups in between training sessions to make progress on their projects. In addition, cadets are required to volunteer at some community events during the school year such as the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service and Youth Leadership Conference.

      YLA offices are located at 410 Renner Drive, Elgin, IL 60123 (Building K, Room 109 at Elgin Community College). 

      YLA Office Hours

      • Monday - Friday 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
        847-214-6910 or 847-214-6965
      • No office hours on Saturday
      • SUMMER OFFICE HOURS: Monday - Thursday 9:00am - 2:00pm (effective May 18 - August 21)


      Questions about the YLA program may be directed to Helen Perez, YLA Administrative Assistant at, or Dianha Ortega-Ehreth, YLA Executive Director at or Dr. Wes Scott, President of the YLA Board at

    • Photo Galleries

      Elisa Lara
      YLA Volunteers
      MLK 2012
      MLK 2012
      Habitat for Humanity educational
      Habitat for Humanity
      2015 Benefit Dinner

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    • Current News

      YLA Newsletter October 2015
      Posted on Sep 25, 2015

      YLA Newsletter - Aug. / Sept. 2015
      Posted on Aug 27, 2015