Youth Leadership

Youth Leadership Month - February
Youth Leadership
Youth Rights
Nurturing Youth Leadership Skills At Home - Psychology Today
The National Youth Leadership Forum: Should You Go?
Why is youth leadership important?
15 Tips for Instilling Leadership Skills in Children
Developing Youth Leadership Skills
Youth Leadership Networks
What is the Youth Leadership Program?


Youth Suicide

Connect Youth Leader Suicide Prevention Training - Madras
Youth & Teen Suicide Prevention & Awareness Training
Youth Suicide: Leader's Guide - K-State Research (5 page PDF)
Connect Youth Leaders: Partnering with Adults in Youth Suicide Prevention
Youth Voice in Suicide Prevention in Hawai'i - NCBI - NIH
Hawai‘i’s Caring Communities Initiative: Mobilizing Rural and Ethnic Minority Communities for Youth Suicide Prevention (18 page PDF)
Youth Leadership Progam Overview 2021 (11 page PDF)
Empowering Youth to Build BRIDGES: Youth Leadership in Suicide Prevention
Save a Friend: Tips for Teens to Prevent Suicide
Inforgrphic English or Spanish

Mental Health In America - Youth Data Youth Ranking 2020
The State of Mental Health in America 2020 (56 page PDF)
Suicide Prevention Best Practices | Best Practices in Use - Tribal
Preventing Suicide: A Toolkit for High Schools
Youth leader's suicide led pastor to raise awareness and support for mental health in churches
Youth Development

Model School DIstrict Policy on Suicide Prevention - Webnar
Preventing Suicide: Guidelines for Administrators and Crisis Teams
Preventing Youth Suicide: Tips for Parents & Educators
Model School District Suicide Prevention Policy (37 page PDF)



Youth Leadership

Youth leadership is the practice of teens exercising authority over themselves or others. Youth leadership has been elaborated upon as a theory of youth development in which young people gain skills and knowledge necessary to lead civic engagement, education reform and community organizing activities. Countless programs around the world seek to teach young people particular skills associated with leadership, particularly those programs associate with youth voice or youth empowerment. Youth leadership skills include: Decision-making. Goal setting. Problem-solving. Relationship-building. Communicating See more - Wikipedia

Youth Leadership Month

Youth leadership is important. Due to low paying jobs and education, many young people are impacted. Since change is needed, it is important that today’s youth get involved.

In light of February being Youth Leadership Month; this month is dedicated to celebrate young people who take on leadership roles in their lives. In addition, it is also for anyone who hasn’t been involved in a leadership role to start now.

Youth Leadership Roles

So, how do you get involved? In the first place, many schools and activity centers are the perfect place to start. Many places offer you the chance to learn and develop your skills. When it comes to middle school and high school students; today’s youth can put their skills to use.

Today, youth leaders are able to utilize their strengths in leading a meeting, program or team. For instance, when you take part in a sport; a leader can help mentor some of the other kids and teach new skills.

What can you do? Whether you decide to participate in an after school program, a camp or an activity, there are a lot of ways you can make a difference.

If you’re passionate about a certain cause or want to share your experience; take on a role of leadership in your community.

Youth Leadership Roles in Sports

Since We W.I.L.L. Thru Sports is on a mission to get children into sports programs to build their confidence; this is one way for someone to grow and enhance their skills.

One of our goals is to build today’s youth into leaders. To get involved in any of our sports programs or to help our organization; we welcome your participation to help each person grow both physically and mentally.

As a kid develops skills, they become more confident in everyday situations. So, let’s create youth leadership roles in our community to help grow our programs.

15 Tips for Instilling Leadership Skills in Children

Many leaders also serve as parents, happily balancing a daily workload with ball games and family dinners. Along the way, most of these leader-parents also realize the influence they have over young minds. Today’s children are tomorrow’s leaders, especially if those children have parents who are leaders.

While leadership skills can come naturally, children learn lessons along the way that significantly impacts them later in life. The right words at the right time can make all the difference.

Here are 15 great tips to help you instill the right skills in the future leaders in your life.

1. Set a good example. As a leader, you realize the importance of setting a good example for your team. This is even truer of your role as a parent. By allowing your children to see how well you balance your business and personal roles, you’ll teach them accountability through effective leadership.

2. Encourage team activities. Early on, identify your children’s interests and encourage their participation in group activities. Whether it’s joining a scouting troop, participating in sports or joining the school band, children learn valuable lessons about teamwork through these activities.

3. Emphasize perseverance. The best leaders learn to handle failure as gracefully as they handle success. It’s important to expose future leaders to disappointment rather than protecting them from it. Children need to learn to handle the loss and move forward when the other team wins or someone else is elected class president.

4. Build negotiation skills. Every good leader knows the art of compromise. Instead of giving your children a firm “yes” or “no” to a request, make an offer and allow them to counter that offer by offering solid points. Teach them negotiation skills like never giving up something without asking for something else in return.

5. Hone decision-making abilities. Children should learn how to make good decisions as early in life as possible. Because children become overwhelmed by too many choices, narrow down the options to two or three, whether a child is deciding on afternoon activities or a movie to watch. My wife Kristy says "Teach your children to weigh the pros and cons of each option in order to make the most informed decision possible. This will help them to make correct decisions in everyday life."

6. Practice confident communication. When you go to a restaurant, do you place orders for your children? You can actually turn a simple dinner into a confidence-building exercise by having your children speak directly to servers. Allowing them to order and speak directly to servers will help them gain confidence in themselves and be able to communicate what they need.

7. Encourage work. Often children are eager to begin working in some capacity. If your child wants to set up a lemonade stand, support them and encourage it. Once your children are old enough, they can take on work opportunities like babysitting and mowing neighborhood yards, provided you live in a safe neighborhood. These early jobs can be essential to building leadership skills in children.

8. Enroll in summer camp. Summer camp is filled with opportunities to participate in team-building activities. Once youth reach a certain age, they may even be asked to help counselors. While many camps require counselors to be 18, a regular camp attendee may be able to land a spot assisting counselors, where they’ll be tasked with leading groups of younger children.

9. Have family game night. Instead of spending an evening staring at your respective screens, consider an evening of board games instead. A family game night not only provides a unique way to spend time together, it helps children learn to be a good sport, play by the rules, and think strategically.

10. Teach project planning skills. As a family, you likely have many planned events, from family vacations to visiting relatives. As you prepare, don’t leave children out of the planning process. Treat each event as though it were a business project, holding brainstorming sessions and delegating smaller tasks to your young family members.

11. Use vision boards. One fun way to teach children goal-setting is through the use of vision boards. They’ll have fun cutting out pictures and arranging them on a board, and in the process they will learn how to visualize what they want to achieve.

12. Avoid jumping in. When your child works on a project or activity, it can be tempting to jump in and help, especially if you see your child struggling. Instead, consider stepping back and letting your children work through it themselves. After the fact, you can review the obstacles and challenges that emerged during the task and ask for ideas on how things could have been done differently.

13. Find a mentor. As great an example as you are to your children, a mentor can be invaluable. A trusted friend or family member can be a great mentor, especially if that person is accomplished in an area in which your child expresses interest. There are also organizations that can supply screened members as mentors.

14. Encourage reading. Studies have shown the benefits of reading for fun in childhood, with children who read having greater intellectual progress in a variety of subjects. Young readers tend to learn more about the world, even when the reading is of a frivolous nature.

15. Reward optimistic thinking. The fact that optimism is connected to success should not be lost on your family. Reward optimism, especially when that optimism is connected to attempting to reach a goal.

Financial expert Miranda Marquit teaches that "to teach your children money management you need to allow them to make mistakes. Have them make a list of what they want, then help them to prioritize what on the list is more important and have them save for it." This will teach them valuable lessons that will help them throughout their whole life. It will also help them know what they can and can't afford.

In small ways, today’s leaders can prepare younger generations for their future as business leaders. Each of these suggestions will not only create better leaders, but can help children perform better in school and develop better personal relationships throughout life.

Developing Youth Leadership Skills

“Leaders in a school health center setting may not fit the typical image of a school leader. Some of our most successful ‘leaders’ were recommended by their school health center staff simply because they were active users of the school-based health center (SBHC)… once they joined the Youth Advisory Council they took on more leadership, since they felt ownership of their SBHC.” -Megan Erskine, Project Coordinator, Illinois Coalition for School Health Centers, 2006-2010

Youth leadership supports youth in “developing the ability to analyze their own strengths and weaknesses, set personal and professional goals, and have the self-esteem, confidence, motivation, and abilities to carry them out.”1 Through leadership development, health centers can mentor, guide, and train youth to become dynamic advocates, managers, and participants in health center projects. Providing leadership training prepares youth to manage time, work in a team setting, set goals, start conversations, facilitate meetings, and make effective presentations; all of which are positive life skills that they will carry into adulthood.2

Youth leaders who can motivate their peers and lead by example will make the youth group stronger and more effective. However, these leaders will not come out of the woodwork. Young people become effective leaders when services (the provision of resources, knowledge, and goods to/for youth) and supports (like interpersonal relationships) are in place to foster opportunities (the activities, roles, and responsibilities done by youth).3

Principles of Developing Youth Leadership Skills

Look for leadership potential in everyone.

Think of every young person as someone who possesses leadership potential. Not everyone feels comfortable leading a meeting or speaking at an event, but they may be able to talk to teachers about a project or draft a letter to the school or community newspaper. It’s worthwhile to think about all of the ways youth can get involved in the health center.

Young people develop as leaders when caring adults take the time to give them meaningful feedback and build their self-confidence.

It can be difficult to find time to meet with youth individually, but it is crucial. Plan to meet regularly with core leaders and be on the lookout for impromptu individual meetings. These could happen while walking with a youth to get a snack before or after a meeting.

‘Opportunities’ are when youth lead projects or activities.

Sometimes it’s hard to take a step back and play the supportive role, but it is the only way to develop leaders authentically. You can have a negative impact if you ask a youth to take ownership of a task and then decide to do it yourself. When leaders do not come through on an assignment, it’s important to hold them accountable. At the same time, you must examine the skills and assistance you provide to the group to ensure that expectations were clear, a timeline was created, and follow up took place to inquire about any extra support needed. Make sure young people have the guidance needed to complete agreed upon activities.

Offer lots of training and clear guidance.

Youth need training to understand public health issues, education models, and methods of effective publicity. Trainings can be facilitated with in-house staff or in collaboration with an outside resource person, so youth feel confident in their knowledge and skills. This is as true for making posters as it is for leading a meeting or talking to school administrators. As tasks get more advanced, the level of training should progress as well. Ensuring youth are ready for each task will boost their confidence and make effective use of their time.

Ideas for Creating Youth Leadership Development Opportunities

Outreach and Engagement

One of the first things a young person can do is help promote the health center. He or she can connect with their peers in ways that the health center staff cannot fully replicate. Having youth ambassadors will not only bring more youth to the center, but also help keep providers and staff abreast of the needs of the population served. Here are a few steps to get outreach going:

1. Make sure young leaders know all of the resources available at the health center and how to access them. Take time to present the health center’s resources and answer questions.

2. Set goals. If goals are already in place, such as increasing health center use by five percent, share them and their rationale with your youth leaders. If the youth can set goals, start a conversation about the health issues in their school or community and how the health center can help. No matter what the goal is, make sure it includes measurable outcomes to track progress and achievement. It may be difficult to know if “more youth are educated about the health center” but feasible to measure increased participation in health-related events (e.g., 100 youth attend an open house at the SBHC).

3. Make an action plan. Have a conversation about how youth will meet their goals.

4. End the meeting with forward momentum and action items for each member (especially the brand new members!). Make sure everyone feels included and knows that their time and efforts make a difference. The more roles people take on, the more likely they are to continue working with the group. Elect a note taker and follow up on action items at the next meeting.

Projects Youth Can Undertake to Promote a Health Center

  • Create and maintain a Facebook page.
  • Create posters about the health center and post them around the school, nearby community centers, and businesses.
  • Add the SBHC hours of operation to the school’s daily announcements.
  • Organize a “health week” where youth present a healthy tip and health center information on school announcements every day for a week.
  • Decorate the health center exterior to draw more attention.
  • Talk to teachers about the SBHC and request time for youth and health center staff to talk to classes about the health center.
  • Hold an open house event (don’t forget the healthy treats!). Invite parents, community members, and the media.
  • Ask the school newspaper to write about the health center or write letters to the editor.
  • Ask the principal to make an announcement promoting the SBHC.

Youth Advisory Councils

Youth Advisory Councils (YAC) are useful way for adult staff to receive feedback and recommendations in order to ensure youth-friendliness of health center operations. “The basic purpose of a YAC is to give youth a voice within a program or organization. Having a thorough understanding of where exactly the YAC fits within the organizational structure can influence the mission, goals, and direction that the YAC will take.”4 Because of their far reach on the school campus and involvement in community activities, YAC members are able to inform adults of popular perceptions of the center and how to respond to the needs and requests of potential patients.

YACs can also serve as a pipeline for youth interested in learning about educational and career opportunities in public health. Consider bringing health professionals, including individuals from the health center’s sponsoring organization, to share about their public health career. Additionally, some health centers and sponsoring agencies invite YAC members to sit on the board of directors as school health liaisons and voting members, building their understanding of organizational governance. Try to make every aspect of the YAC a skills-building one: group facilitation and consensus building, meeting organization, agenda development, event planning, and networking should be practiced thoroughly.

Research and Assessments

Incorporating youth engagement into the community assessments and research involved in opening a new health center or evaluating current services can build youth leadership skills. This can be a concrete introductory project for youth and would benefit a new health center. Youth can design a needs assessment tool to assist the health center with planning for operations. Young people can participate in every stage of the research process; from administering the survey and collecting the data to analyzing the findings, developing recommendations, and disseminating results to various audiences. All of this can be done in collaboration with adults providing training and guidance along the way.

Peer-to-Peer Education

Peer-to-peer education is the teaching or sharing of health information, values, and behavior in educating others who may share similar social backgrounds or life experiences.5 In this model, young people focus on a particular health issue in their school or community and set out to teach their peers about it. Groups may focus on teen pregnancy, healthy eating, asthma, or teen dating violence. The key component is to allow the youth to choose a topic that is important to them and is a need for the larger school population.

Peer-to-peer education can take place on a large scale, such as an assembly or video, or it can be focused on small groups or individual persons. For example, youth can make class presentations, run small discussion groups, or mentor younger youth.

In many ways, using the peer-to-peer education model is much like starting an outreach group to promote the health center:

1. Make sure young leaders know all the resources available at the health center and how to access them. Even though the ultimate goal of this group is not to promote the health center, group members will be seen as links to the center, so they should know what services the health center provides and how to access them.

2. Select a topic. Work with the youth team to identify a few of the most pressing issues faced by youth on campus and in the community. They may be able to better identify these after conducting a youth survey or several focus groups.

3. Learn about the issue. Take some time to learn about the issue you have chosen. Invite speakers from other youth-serving organizations if possible.

4. Make a plan. As noted above, there are many ways to do peer education. Decide on an action—a school-wide event, a lunchtime group, a mentoring program, a media campaign—set definitive goals and celebrate accomplishments along the way.

End each meeting with forward momentum and action items for each member. Group members could look up an article on the topic, invite their friends to the next meeting, or create a Facebook group.


1. National Alliance for Secondary Education and Transition. Youth Development & Youth Leadership. Available at: Accessed 2015.

2. National Resource Center for Youth Development. Youth Engagement: Youth Leadership Development. Available at: Accessed July 2015.

3. Academy for Educational Development. Advancing Youth Development: A Curriculum for Training Youth Workers. DC Trust. 2015.

4. UMHS Adolescent Health. Creating and Sustaining a Thriving Youth Advisory. Available at: Accessed June 2015.

5. Green, J. Peer Education. Promotion & Education. 2001;8(2):65–68.


You've seen people in need on the news after a hurricane, earthquake, or other disaster. Perhaps you've walked past homeless people who are living on the streets. Or maybe you've been to an animal shelter and wished you could give every pet a home.

So what can you do to help those who need it? The answer is — volunteer!

The National Service Organization has linked the number of hours volunteered with positive health benefits. The more hours a person volunteers in a year, the more likely they are to stay mentally, emotionally and physically fit. It builds self-confidence, can fight depression, and expands your social network.

Volunteering is as beneficial to you as it is to the causes you care the most about. Here are some reasons to volunteer:

Volunteering is a great way to get work experience! You learn new skills by trying new jobs. And volunteering can advance your career and expose you to new career options.

  • You might find something you'd like to do for a living, or discover what you would not want to do.
  • You can meet people who can give you guidance and possibly help you to find a paid job later on.
  • Some volunteer opportunities involve travel across the U.S. and to other countries.
  • Employers will be impressed that you took the initiative to learn new things.
  • You can learn how a charitable organization works.
  • Best of all, you will be taking action to promote what you think is important and help someone else along the way.

If you would like to learn more about the benefits of volunteering, click here.

Connect Youth Leaders

For youth who are in 8th to 12th Grade. Parents, please register your youth only after reading the disclaimer at the bottom of this program description.

Friends of youth at risk are typically the ones who first see suicide warnings. Research consistently shows that teen peer training is effective suicide prevention.

  • A true partnership of youth and adults, the program is unique because it brings together youth and adults to talk about suicide, and it empowers youth by giving them the resources to help prevent suicide.
  • The training emphasizes the role of youth is to seek help from an adult mentor when there is a concern and not to take on the role of a counselor. It also includes developmental considerations for youth, as well as safe messaging guidelines.
  • Participants will receive training in generating positive attitudes toward helping others, recognizing suicide risk and protective factors and suicide warning signs, identifying available local resources, and connecting an at-risk youth to help.

Youth who are at risk for suicide or have experienced a suicide loss, particularly a recent loss (such as within the past year), may find that this training may evoke discomfort and/or feelings of regret. It is recommended that parents or legal guardians who are concerned about their youth attending this training contact the instructor to determine their readiness for prevention training and to discuss any alternative programs which may be more appropriate. (541-475-4884)

CLICK HERE to register. Note: BestCare Prevention in Madras, OR hosted a Connect Youth Leader Suicide Prevention Training on March 29, 2019. This is listed here as an example of what might be done in your community..

For questions, please contact Kimberlee Jones, Prevention Supervisor for BestCare Prevention, Madras, OR.

Connect Youth Leaders: Partnering with Adults in Youth Suicide Prevention



Type: Program/Practice, Education/Training Program

Organization: NAMI New Hampshire


Two-day training including materials and curriculum is $6,000 plus travel. Day One is for a maximum of 15 adults who will be the co-facilitators with the youth leaders. Day Two is for the adult facilitators continuing from Day One and 20 youth leaders. Adult and youth participants will have the opportunity to practice co-facilitating the training and to receive feedback and coaching from the Connect trainer.

Elaine de Mello

National Alliance on Mental Illness-NH
85 N. State Street
Concord, NH 03301

Phone: 603-225-5359



Developed by NAMI NH, Youth Leaders is a two-day training for youth leaders and adult co-facilitators that prepares youth and adults to conduct Connect Youth Suicide Prevention training for teenage audiences.

Friends of youth at risk are typically the ones who see suicidal warnings before adults. Because youth may not know what to do about a friend at risk, or may keep a suicide plan “secret,” it is important for youth to be trained in suicide prevention and intervention. Research consistently shows that peer training is a very effective method for educating youth.

Youth leaders should be selected to represent a cross-section of local youth culture and should be offered continued adult support in their role as co-trainers after the training is completed. The training emphasizes that the role of youth is to seek help from an adult when there is a concern, NOT to take on the role of a counselor.

Youth Leaders is based on Connect Suicide Prevention Training. This training takes into account developmental considerations of high school-age youth as well as safe messaging guidelines. All materials, activities, and PowerPoint slides were developed to meet the needs of youth and guide their involvement in youth suicide prevention.

Program Objectives

After Day One training, participants (adults alone) will have greater:

  • Understanding of suicide as a public health issue and its impact on communities and individuals.
  • Insights into suicide data and how age, gender, culture, and other factors impact suicide risk.
  • Knowledge of communication techniques for parents and others to use in crisis situations.
  • Knowledge of best practices concerning restricting access to lethal means, safe messaging, and communication about suicide, and how these differ when working with youth.

After Day Two training, participants (adults and youth leaders) will have greater:

  • Understanding of the risk and protective factors and warning signs associated with suicide.
  • Skills and confidence to recognize warning signs of suicide in a friend or family member.
  • Understanding of the importance of involving adults when concerned about someone at risk.
  • Knowledge of resources and comfort level for connecting others with help.
  • Positive attitudes towards helping others.
  • Awareness of the benefits of treatment for mental health and substance abuse issues.



Helping youth in transition build leadership skills is a critical element of preparing them for entry into adulthood. Even for those young people who may not pursue leadership roles, gaining skills in goal-setting, problem-solving, mediation, stress management, interpersonal communication, and critical thinking increase the likelihood of them becoming healthy and happy adults.

Resources on Positive Youth Development and Youth Leadership on

Positive Youth Development is

  • an intentional, pro-social approach that engages youth within their communities, schools, organizations, peer groups, and families in a manner that is productive and constructive;
  • recognizes, utilizes, and enhances youths' strengths; and
  • promotes positive outcomes for young people by providing opportunities, fostering positive relationships, and furnishing the support needed to build on their leadership strengths.

This topic provides information on integrating positive youth development into youth-serving programs, involving youth in youth programs including providing leadership opportunities for them, an assessment of youth involvement and engagement, and more

Service-Learning is a strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and self-reflection to support academic learning, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities. This topic provides the federal definition of service-learning, how service-learning is implemented in schools and integrated into curriculum and policies, the benefits of service-learning, and more.

Civic Engagement and Volunteering is defined as working to make a difference in the civic life of a community through civic action, civic commitment or duty, civic skills, and social cohesion. Volunteering is one form of civic engagement, as defined above, in the construct of civic action and civic commitment or duty. This topic includes information on recruiting and involving youth in volunteering and civic engagement, engaging youth in service, and more.

Youth Voices is a section of the site that provides the perspectives and reflections of teens and young adults. Their stories include the people, relationships, programs, and life lessons that have made a real difference for them. Many of the youth featured on the site discuss their experiences with leadership positions and the challenges and successes they faced.

Additional Federal Resources on Positive Youth Development and Youth Leadership

National Clearinghouse on Families & Youth is an information resource of the Family and Youth Services Bureau within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This site includes information on positive youth development and other topics.

National Resource Center for Youth Development(link is external) is a service of the Department of Health and Human Services' Children’s Bureau and a member of the Training and Technical Assistance Network. NRCYD’s overall goal is to build the capacity of states and Tribes to provide high quality services to their youth in out-of-home placements, former foster youth, and other youth in at-risk situations. They have resources that target engaging youth including youth leadership development.

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