Youth Leadership Development

The MBSK Orange County Youth Leadership Development (YLD) Program exposes students to a number of opportunities, including leadership academy, mentoring, college tours, and international travel. Through this dynamic design, participants receive intellectually challenging programming, positive role models to help set long-term aspirations as well as the support required to nurture and fulfill those aspirations.

1: Leadership Academy

Leadership Academy is held twice a month and features a variety of sessions built to challenge participants in different ways intellectually, physically, and socially. Sessions are tailored to address the complex and unique issues that diverse youth face daily while also providing opportunities for individual growth and professional development.

Leadership Academy’s focus is to help students master 21st Century Skills (also referred to as the New Basic Skills). In Teaching the New Basic Skills, authors Richard Murnane (Harvard University) and Frank Levy (MIT) researched the skills required for entry-level jobs at most American companies, and found that they go beyond what the SAT tests for. These skills include:

  1. Oral Presentation: The ability to speak to an audience with confidence using eye contact and body language, developing coherent and well-organized content.
  2. Teamwork: The ability to work effectively and solve problems in a diverse team by working in groups, encouraging others, and giving and receiving feedback.
  3. Leadership: The ability to make decisions, establish goals, volunteer to help others, and be a role model.
  4. Data Analysis: The ability to solve problems using data (qualitative and quantitative), test hypotheses, draw conclusions, and interpret and communicate data.
  5. Advanced Literacy: The ability to use new vocabulary, communicate effectively in writing, use critical reading skills, and make inferences from what is read.
  6. Technology: The ability to identify and use technology as a tool.

By attending these sessions, students will gain the tools necessary to excel in a variety of different situations.

2: Mentoring

Mentoring is the cornerstone of MBSK Orange County. Volunteers apply annually to become mentors and friends for MBSK Orange County students. These close, year-long relationships provide participants with access to a caring adult who offers knowledge about how to apply for college, seek out job opportunities, or navigate the complexities of life. The goal is to promote the academic achievement of our participants, motivating them to complete high school and then pursue higher education or a living wage career. The program offers activities that support these goals and the relationships between mentors and mentees.

3: College Tours

Visiting campus is one of the most important steps a student can take in deciding if a particular college is right for them. However, traveling to these campuses can be extremely expensive. As such, MBSK Orange County hosts the Spring Break College Tour annually where students visit colleges and universities across the country to get to know the students and faculty who bring these institutions to life.

Colleges toured include City University of New York, East Carolina University, Elizabeth City State University, Delaware State University, Hampton University, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Maryland (Baltimore County), North Carolina A&T State University, Duke University, North Carolina Central University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Xavier University, Florida A&M University, Florida State University, and more.

4: International Travel

The J.U.S.T (Journeys to Uncover Social Truth) Global Fellowship is a global youth initiative that partners with community organizations to send high school and college students of color to engage in international work and volunteerism abroad during the summer. These international experiences are designed to empower these future global leaders to be more effective, respectful of other cultures and political and economic systems, and willing to take a stand for the world’s welfare.

Rising Fifth- through Eleventh graders with a minimum 2.0 GPA (C Average) are eligible for participation in the program. Upon successful completion of an application process, students gain admission to the program.

Due to the evolving realities of COVID-19, MBSK Orange County will not be accepting applications for the 2020-2021 YLD Program year. Please check back for updates.

Note: MBSK Orange County prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program.

For more information about the YLD Program, contact our team at