Roanoke City youth in grades 6 and up participate in the Roanoke Youth Leadership Alliance located at the Boys and Girls Club of Southwest Virginia. These youth meet weekly with the RPA Youth Leadership Coordinator to learn and put into practice leadership skills that will have a positive impact on their community via education and community outreach.
The youth have implemented a social norms marketing campaign and performed alcohol environmental scans in local convenience stores. They have presented to City Council, developed a newsletter that was distributed to over 3,000 residents in SE Roanoke and volunteered with the SPCA at the Roanoke Go Outside Festival. They also assist with RPA projects like New Year’s at Noon.
The work performed by the RYLA members develops a deep investment and connection to their community and they learn to enjoy supporting community activities and feel empowered to be vocal about the impact they have in their community. These life experiences help youth develop self-confidence and a sense of purpose and future…three keys to becoming resilient and successful adults.
Youth leadership opportunities are introduced in 5th grade and expand with promotion to 6th grade allowing them to be RYLA members. Two RYLA members are elected annually to the RPA Board of Directors.