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I'm So Happy I Found Out About the Youth Leadership Initiative

Youth Leadership Initiative Involvement

June 26, 2018

My name is Claire Kelly. I attend Waukee High School and will be a senior this fall. I recently graduated from Youth Leadership Initiative (YLI), an initiative of the Greater Des Moines Partnership, and plan to be a mentor in the program this fall. I also participate in volleyball, tennis, national honor society, large group speech team, my church youth group, mentors in violence prevention, best buddies, fusion mentor group, random acts of kindness club and student council.

How did you find out about YLI?

I found out about YLI through an upperclassman at my school and I’m so happy she told me.

Describe YLI

YLI is a chance for the ambitious, promising young leaders of tomorrow to learn more about their state capital of Greater Des Moines (DSM) and all of the opportunities it presents. Not only do participants get to tour Downtown DSM and surrounding areas, but they also get to interact with different businesses and organizations throughout the region. They also meet leaders from other schools around the state who are passionate and talented.

Favorite part of YLI


My favorite parts of YLI were the connections I made and the new places I explored. Throughout the program, you are surrounded by powerful community members and ambitious peers. Networking opportunities arose often, and it was awesome to take advantage of them. Everyone at YLI wants to do anything possible to help you succeed. I also learned a lot about all of the opportunities DSM has to offer and all of the options you can pursue here.

Would you recommend YLI?  

I have never experienced anything like this program. You will be challenged not only as a participant but as a leader. You gain and improve on so many different skills while still engaging in exciting, interesting and meaningful activities. This is something you won’t want to miss.

Youth Leadership Initiative (YLI) introduces, develops and fosters leadership skills among high school sophomores and juniors in Greater Des Moines (DSM) through experiential mentoring and leadership opportunities.

Claire Kelly

Claire Kelly, 16, attended Waukee High School. She recently graduated from the Youth Leadership Initiative (YLI) program and plans to be a mentor in the future. Claire also participates in volleyball, tennis, national honor society, large group speech team and student council.