Young Leaders in Action

2019–2020 YLA Participant, Liyu Huang


2017–2018 YLA Participant, Hanin Najjar

The Young Leaders in Action program engages a diverse group of students from high schools across the Portland metro area in cultivating leadership skills to become local leaders poised to take action on global issues. Built on the ethos that critical thinking, teamwork and empathy are key elements to leadership development, the Young Leaders in Action program empowers youth leaders to become agents of change at home and abroad.

Young Leaders in Action Program Flyer-School Year 2023-24

Student Application Form

Teacher Recommendation Form


Read more about YLA Impact on the Portland community! 


Young Leaders in Action is a network of engaged, resourceful and activated youth leaders in Oregon who possess the confidence and skills to be contributing members of their own communities and the broader world.

The program is built on four key program goals:

  1. Gaining a Global Perspective
  2. Developing Leadership Skills
  3. Building Intercultural Connections
  4. Taking Action on Critical Issues

Participants take part in the following activities:

Workshops on critical global issues with local relevance that are shaping our community and the broader world such as, climate change, gender equality, racial justice, immigration, and gun violence. Emphasis will be placed on the strategies, challenges and successes of youth-led initiatives at home and around the world.

Intercultural activities within the YLA group, with inspiring local leaders from Portland and virtually with global leaders from around the world.

Leadership trainings on how to become effective leaders in Portland and beyond including: critical thinking, project planning, teamwork, problem-solving, and communication.. Public speaking opportunities, whether live or virtual, allow YLA participants to showcase their global perspective, leadership skills and passion for social change to a wide array of audiences, including peers and international youth at virtual student workshops and events.

Networking with local youth, community leaders, social service agencies in the Portland metro area and non-governmental organizations from around the world. Students gain access to local and global leaders, who have learned successful strategies and taken action on enacting positive changes in their own communities and the broader world. 

Social action projects that are organized, planned, executed and led by Young Leaders in Action participants throughout the course of the program. Social Action Projects will include the broader community in a culminating event in the spring.

“I truly believe that YLA opened my eyes to different issues around the world, gave me rich opportunities to connect with the community around me, and changed how I think about myself, my place in the community, and my beliefs.”

Jacqueline, 2018 YLA participant


Who should apply? 

Students in the Portland metro area who will be sophomores and juniors during the 2023-2024 school year and who have an interest in gaining a global perspective about local issues, developing leadership and teamwork skills, building intercultural connections and exploring strategies for taking action.  

YLA is FREE for all sophomores and juniors attending high schoolWe encourage students of all abilities, genders, races and ethnicities, socioeconomic backgrounds, religions and other identities to apply. WorldOregon is committed to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion and will do our best to make YLA accessible and available to youth. 


How are applicants selected? 

Students do not need to have previous leadership experience, but they do need to possess a passion for social justice and a willingness to commit to working with WorldOregon staff and the YLA team to spend the program year learning, sharing, exploring and taking action on global issues facing their communities. Applicants will be selected based on having:  

      *An interest in learning about local & global social justice issues 

      *A desire to work as a team with students from other high schools 

      *The curiosity to explore intercultural connections with local & international youth  

      *The passion to learn new leadership skills  

      *A commitment to explore strategies for taking action 

      *The ability to bring a unique perspective and voice to the program 


What are the commitments? 

Applications are due May 1, 2023. Program begins in October, 2023 (date TBD) and ends in early May, 2024. Participants commit to attending meetings. Regular communication with the YLA Leadership Manager and other group members is expected. 

Are there any costs to participate? 

Thanks to WorldOregon donors, there is no cost for this program. WorldOregon can occasionally provide transportation passes for students to attend special YLA events. 



To learn more about Young Leaders in Action Program, please contact:


Deb Delman, Youth Leadership Manager

[email protected] | (503) 306-5244






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