The Young Neighborhood Leaders (YNL) program engages, educate and employ high school students in the community development and urban planning fields. In collaboration with Thomas Dunn Learning Center and St. Louis Internship Program, the program will (1) Employ young people in neighborhood-based organizations and businesses; (2) Support opportunities for mentorship and education; (3) Facilitate youth-led community development; and (4) Foster a more diverse, representative generation of civic leaders and neighborhood champions. Now in its second year, the YNL program will be targeted toward high school sophomore and juniors living  in Benton Park West, Gravois Park, or the northeast section of Dutchtown (the Gravois-Jefferson planning area).

Learn more about the 2018 pilot program year here.

Applications for 2019 are open through St. Louis Internship Program (SLIP)! Click the button below to view the application and contact information.  All application information must be returned by mail or hand-delivered to SLIP (4232 Forest Park Avenue, Room 1027).

The goals of the Young Neighborhood Leaders program are to:

  1. Build awareness of the community development field among young people, especially low-income black students in St. Louis schools
  2. Develop the next generation of civic and community leaders; one that is civically engaged and representative of the diversity of St. Louis’ neighborhoods
  3. Empower young people with the skills and resources necessary to develop and carry out grassroots initiatives in their community
  4. Build professional and life skills, including financial management, professional demeanor, respect and cooperation between different cultures and perspectives.
  5. Provide gainful employment to youth in order to prevent drug and alcohol abuse, dropping out of high school, and criminal behavior
  6. Create opportunities for peer and one-on-one mentorship among young people and leaders in the community development field with an inclusive focus of involving African-American professionals and other professionals of color as mentors.

The Need:

  • As demonstrated by the Gravois-Jefferson Plan:
    • Summer jobs was the #1 activity that young people support to support and empower local youth.
    • 87% of young people said they want to be a part of improving their neighborhoods. Only 17% are involved with local organizations or neighborhood groups.
  • As demonstrated by research and broader context:
    • 81% of American city planners are white. 84% of nonprofit community development organizations are white. There is a need for a more diverse, representative generation of civic and community leaders.
    • Youth employment programs have been shown to increase community engagement, build financial well-being, and support positive outcomes for young people.

2019 Program Elements:

Neighborhood Leadership and Job Training
All Young Neighborhood Leaders will complete St. Louis Internship Program’s spring training series. Topics will include Dress for Success, Resume Writing, Interviewing Skills, Effective Communications, Computer Literacy, Financial Literacy, Professional Etiquette, etc. All Young Neighborhood Leaders are required to complete their college credit course, paid for by SLIP, through STLCC during through the Saturday Training & Development Component. All students will complete the same course chosen by SLIP.

In collaboration with Thomas Dunn Learning Center, Young Neighborhood Leaders will attend weekly sessions of the Southside Youth Council throughout the summer in order to learn more about community development and neighborhood leadership. Sessions will include guest speakers, field trips, group projects, and more.

Summer Internships – Dates: June 10 – August 2, 2019
The Young Neighborhood Leaders will be placed at local organizations and businesses whose work is focused on improving the local community. Students will be paid $8/hour for 320 hours of work over the summer (approximately 40 hours/week).

Program Partners

Program Sponsors