Our Youth Leadership Academy™ (YLA) is an integrated, comprehensive program offered by Aurora Mental Health & Recovery (AMHR)’s Cultural Development & Wellness Center – formerly a program of Asian Pacific Development Center (APDC) – serving youth in Aurora, Colorado. YLA provides services to foster future leaders in our community, with a mission “to help youth discover their potential to become strong leaders who embrace and balance their cultures and identities.” YLA programming is designed with the following areas of focus: academic enrichment, leadership, career, and social skills development.
We offer several programs throughout the Denver Metro and Aurora areas, which run throughout the school year. YLA has been able to offer various programs in partnership with the U.S. Department of Education’s Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers, the Colorado Health Foundation, and the Share Winter Foundation. These programs offer students a broad array of enriching non-school hour activities that can complement their regular academic programs; and offers literacy and other educational services to the families of participating children. YLA offers programming both during the school year and during the summer.
YLA has year-round applications, but students are encouraged to sign up at the beginning of the school year or semester.
Please note: After-school homework help is only offered to students who are currently enrolled in YLA programming at Aurora Central High School and Hinkley High School.
Our Youth Leadership Academy™ (YLA) Programs
YLA Aurora Central High School
The Youth Leadership Academy™ (YLA) program offers an array of afterschool clubs to all students at Aurora Central High School. We provide students with a safe space to share commonality with other students through themed clubs. These afterschool clubs are student led which allows for students to cultivate leadership skills.
As community partners, YLA has been able to support the following clubs at Aurora Central High School:
- Anime Club
- Asian American Pacific Islander Club
- Black Student Union
- Chess Club
- Dungeons & Dragons
- Cosmetology Club (coming soon)
YLA Hinkley High School
The Youth Leadership Academy™ (YLA) program offers an array of afterschool clubs to all students at Hinkley High School. We provide students with a safe space to share commonality with other students through themed clubs. These afterschool clubs are student led which allows for students to cultivate leadership skills.
As community partners, YLA has been able to support the following clubs at Hinkley High School:
- Anime Club
- KPOP Club
- Cosmetology Club
- Dungeons & Dragons Club
- Sewing Club
New American Youth Leadership Council (NAYLC)
Notice: Applications for the New American Youth Leadership Council are currently open. The deadline to apply is March 28, 2024.
The Cultural Development & Wellness Center's New American Youth Leadership Council (NAYLC) will train 15 immigrant and refugee youth leaders of color ages 16 to 21 in various areas of community leadership development with hands-on experience at the local and federal level on issues.
What you will get as a fellow:
A $350 stipend (contingent on attending 80% of classes & all requirements of the program)
A professional headshot for job applications
A resumé and/or personal statement
Mentorship from an NAYLC alumni in movement/organizing work
An understanding of the basic tenets of community organizing and building power, knowledge of concepts of Social Action and Power Building, US Government/Policy Structure, Community Education and Civic Engagement, Immigration Legal Services, and Policy and Advocacy through Case Studies
Meaningful soft and hard leadership and movement-building skills (ie: Public speaking, and movement-building skills)
Share Winter Foundation
Share Winter Foundation (“Share Winter”) is a grantmaking organization working to improve the lives, health, and fitness of youth through winter sports. Share Winter works closely with carefully selected grantees to build efficient, effective, sustainable winter sports programs and pipelines to ongoing winter sports participation.
Every Saturday for four weeks, YLA members took part in either skiing or snowboarding lessons. Aside from lessons, students were able to learn more about career exploration in the snow and winter sports industry. Many participants had little to no experience in snow sports and were able to face their fears to progress throughout the program. This partnership with Share Winter and YLA strives to make a difference in the winter sports industry by making it accessible and inclusive to all.
Space is limited. So, we require that all program recruits participate in all four ski trips.
Meet Our YLA Program Director
Mr. Habakkuk Ammishaddai
Habakkuk Ammishaddai is an honor graduate of the Metropolitan State University of Denver, where he received his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and criminology with a sociology minor. Habakkuk has amassed over 30 years of experience working with at-risk youth and teens in Illinois and Michigan. He has also developed successful youth programs here in Colorado.
Habakkuk is an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Army, in which he worked with nuclear missile weapon systems. Habakkuk has been recognized for his work within one of our local schools in the Aurora Public School system – receiving the 2018 Shaping the Future award.
In his spare time, Habakkuk enjoys writing and spending time with his family.