Do you know a high school student who has what it takes to be a great leader?

Last weekend, a Los Angeles Times article featured a story on Yecenia Perez, a local high school student and participant in United Way’s Young Civic Leaders Program (YCLP). Perez joined YCLP two years ago when she was seeking mentorship and support after her sister left for college. Through YCLP, Perez was able to participate in rallies, marches to end homelessness and voter registration drives to improve her own education and the education of her peers.

Joining YCLP was helpful for Perez not merely for the larger community activities she could participate in, but also for the individual mentorship it provided her. Perez has said that United Way’s YCLP program coordinator, Katherine “Kat” Trejo, has become a very influential mentor for her. According to the L.A. Times interview, Perez has said that Trejo is a great support in her life, assisting her through both mental health and educational needs.

Since it began, YCLP has been working to provide the students of Los Angeles Unified School District with the resources they need to prepare for college, learn professional leadership skills and become civically engaged in the community. Students involved in the program are encouraged to learn about local education policies and use their voices to advocate for themselves and the community.

One of the most noteworthy achievements of YCLP was their involvement with United Way’s Communities for Los Angeles Student Success (CLASS) coalition in passing the Close the Gap resolution earlier this year. The Close the Gap resolution is a district-wide plan to improve the educational resources for low-income and marginalized students throughout Los Angeles County.

United Way’s Young Civic Leaders Program is always accepting new participants. If you are a student that is interested in advocating for the educational needs of your community, please join us.

Find out what students in the program are saying here:

Learn about a YCLP student’s college adventure here.