Who We Are
The Yleana Leadership Program is a residential summer academy for high school students preparing for the SAT. Students attend on full scholarship and, besides studying for the SAT, study entrepreneurship (which culminates in a one-day startup fair with special guests) and discuss issues that will come to affect them as they enter The Rest Of Their Lives (intended caps) through the writings of authors such as bell hooks, Sherman Alexie, Junot Diaz, Judith Ortiz Cofer, Maya Angelou, etc, while becoming a part of a welcoming and introspective camp community. One of the greatest compliments we received last year was a student who had been in foster care and had had trouble with her parents telling us that Yleana was the first place she felt safe, like people really cared about her. We strive to create and promote that atmosphere - a loving place for kids who haven't always had it easy.
This summer, 72 rising juniors and seniors from the Baltimore, Boston, New York and Philadelphia metropolitan areas will attend the Yleana Leadership Academy, hosted at Colgate University and Syracuse University, both in upstate NY.
- Session I: June 27-July 18, 2015 at Colgate University in Hamilton, NY
- Session II: July 20-August 10, 2015 at Colgate University and Syracuse University in Syracuse, NY
Our program is free to all participants; room, board, and all program-related fees (including transportation to and from students' schools/partner organizations) is covered by our endowment.
The program consists of four core components:
- a comprehensive SAT program to maximize students' scores - our average score improvement was 320 points!
- a college advising/mentorship program to help them understand what college will be like and begin to see it as an eventuality rather than a possibility, opening their minds to critical thinking and problem-solving skills, an introduction to college classes/styles through a Socratic, small-group environment, and an introduction to the issues that they will come to contemplate as young people
- a cutting-edge leadership program focused on entrepreneurship which culminates in a one-day startup fair featuring real live entrepreneurs from local businesses
- a traditional summer experience going on nature hikes, making S'mores, going to see movies, playing volleyball and dodgeball and ultimate frisbee on the lawn, making jewelry and crafts, and coming together as a community
Students will live full time at Colgate and Syracuse, sleeping in dormitories, eating with their peers, participating in athletic and social events, and going on cultural excursions. We seek not only to give students the scores and tools to make college a tangible reality, but also to create a thriving community. Resident advisors who double as teachers will live with the students, helping them manage a new environment and inspiring them with the advisors' own tales of college success. We have at least one staff member for every six students. Staff members will consist of experienced instructors, assistant teachers, adjunct teachers, and counselors-in-training (recent Yleana alumni, now transitioning out of the college admissions process and into attending college, who counsel our students and run non-academic programming).
Yleana Follow-Up Program
When the program ends, students will return to their respective homes and schools armed with a clear schedule for both SAT study and college application building. Through the Yleana Follow-Up Program, they will continue to meet (during the five weeks of the month of September through the first week of October) twice a week with Yleana-sponsored teachers (once on a weekday after school and once on Saturday morning to take more practice tests!) in their areas to study the SAT and keep themselves in the groove of Yleana strategies, positioning them for the October 2015 SAT.
Every year, our kids continue to reach out socially to Yleana staff (and each other!) and for help on college essays and applications. Yleana also is committed to matching students with a one-on-one financial aid counselor (if the partner organization doesn't already provide this) to help students identify colleges which are good fits BOTH academically and financially and guide them through the college application process. Our posterity programs are designed to ensure that the work we do over the summer has a measurable and lasting impact on our students' futures.