United Way seeks youth leaders


The United Way of Central Indiana is seeking 30 high school students to participate in its Youth Leadership United Program. The program is open to high school freshmen, sophomores and juniors who live in Boone, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Marion or Morgan counties.

“The program is a leadership and board development program for high school students that teaches them about the nonprofit system and how to serve on nonprofit boards and committees,” said Celeste Gellenbeck, Youth Leadership United coordinator.

The program begins with a retreat in January, 2019 and continues with six additional Saturday sessions through May. Each Saturday session will focus on a different topic. Students learn about leadership, philanthropy, board responsibilities, community needs and teambuilding.

“We do a service project and then they have a day of reflection and graduation ceremony,” Gellenbeck said. “We just kind of reflect on the class and the service project, and we invite the parents back for the last half of the day.”

At the end of the program, students are placed on a local nonprofit board.

“That’s really what sets our program apart,” Gellenbeck said. “There are a lot of leadership programs, but none of them place the students on boards or committees after the training. They learn all these skills, but then they get to put that into action and that’s really neat.”

Applicants should have a desire to learn about giving back to their community, but volunteer service is not required.

“The first question on the application is to list three of your volunteer opportunities, but we do not eliminate anyone if they don’t have volunteer experience,” Gellenbeck said. “We have had a couple of students who this was their first step into volunteering.”

The deadline to apply is Oct. 31. Chosen participants will be notified in December. To apply visit uwci.org/ylu.