As the cornerstone program of Latina Leaders of Kern County, the organization and its partners have worked diligently over the past ten years to develop the leadership potential in young Latinas throughout Kern County through YLP. The program is designed to help Latinas, and their families, become better prepared to make positive and informed education and life choices.
The Youth Leadership Program requires a full commitment from the students to learn from their peers, and adult leaders, by participating in a series of workshops designed to prepare them for life choices. The young ladies are exposed to an array of topics: how to work in teams, college admissions/requirements/application, goal setting, and community engagement. They also take a trip to a University campus. Overall, the participants learn about themselves, their community, and the role they play in it. It is definitely a once in a lifetime experience.
Participation in this program has allowed many young Latinas to expand their horizons and think beyond the present to establish a brighter future. Past participants have been motivated to run for student council, to take action and become involved in issues at their schools that are affecting them, and to plan for a future career path that may not have been visible to them prior to participation. More importantly, these young women learn that they are in the process of becoming the mentors for the younger generations, and they encourage other students to get involved and participate in the program.
Who are the students of the Youth Leadership Program? They are a diverse group of young Latinas. The students are not chosen by GPA or merit in school rather, they are chosen by their interest in learning, willingness to make the commitment, and leadership potential. All interested students submit an application for the program through their counselors. Participating schools have includes: Foothill High, Shafter High, McFarland High, Cesar Chavez High, West High, Arvin High, Ridgeview High, Vista High, Nueva High, Mira Monte High, East High, Golden Valley, Wasco High, Bakersfield High, Centennial, Liberty, Stockdale, Independence and Highland High Schools.
Thanks to its many successes, the program was expanded in 2012 to include a targeted high school senior component that will assist young women in entering college successfully.
LLKC Objective/Goal: Continue to develop a collaborative effort to educate and encourage young Latinas to get involved in the process of finding solutions to issues facing young women, especially Latinas in today’s world. By providing the necessary tools, encouraging confidence and collaboration, and a unique opportunity for the girls to be exposed to current issues firsthand, we believe these young ladies will be well equipped with the ability to become our leaders of tomorrow.