The future looks bright
A new group of Youth Leadership Academy students graduate

The future looks bright

With a new group of intelligent and passionate Youth Leadership Academy (YLA) graduates, the Sacramento region has a lot to look forward to. YLA students have shown yet again how smart and talented they are, and how much they have to offer. Through the program, students learned about the principles and history of transportation and land use planning, local government processes, and community advocacy. Through the workshops and by applying their own skills, students then developed various final projects including bettering a community park, equal pay campaigns, equitable transportation, transforming community spaces, health equity, and environmental justice. The overall outcome is a group of young leaders ready to make change in their communities.

In this third year, SACOG’s YLA program welcomed 49 new students and 10 returning peer mentors. The curriculum has continued to elevate youth perspectives in local civic processes. This is done in part by building participants’ understanding of the interconnectedness of planning, policy, and local decision-making across various sectors through exploring themes such as transportation, housing, environmental and social justice, advocacy, and more. The program was 100 percent virtual this year due to the ongoing pandemic, with students meeting over Zoom biweekly on Saturday mornings.

SACOG, in partnership with PRO Youth and Families, has welcomed more than 130 students into the program since 2019 to sharpen their leadership skills and learn how to navigate local government processes to encourage civic engagement.