YWCA USA works to improve the lives of young women and girls through our efforts to end gender-based violence and support survivors. It’s critical that we are conscientious about centering youth voices in this work, and as such, we are proud to be a part of the Biden Foundation’s Youth LEADS initiative.

Launched in 2018, Youth LEADS (Leverage, Energize, and Define Solutions) is an initiative to combat gender-based violence among youth by providing young leaders with the platforms, network, and organizational support they need to create change. Youth LEADS looks to young people to drive the solutions that will change the culture and end violence in their communities.

In the Fall of 2018, the Youth LEADS team facilitated a series of 15 listening sessions with young people across the country about gender-based violence, culminating in the report, Cultivating Young Leaders in the Fight to End Gender-Based Violence.

These listening sessions spanned a dozen states and multiple intersections of identity. In partnership with YWCA USA, the Biden Foundation facilitated four sessions with local associations, including YWCA Greater Baton Rouge, YWCA Hamilton, YWCA Minneapolis, and YWCA San Antonio. Read more about this and hear directly from some of the youth participants on our blog.

The resulting report amplifies the voices of the young people that Youth LEADS met with, highlights 11 themes central to their experiences, and offers 7 concrete policy recommendations for youth-serving organizations and groups working to end gender-based violence.

  • Download and read the printable Youth LEADS recommendations one-pager (PDF)
  • Download and read the full Youth LEADS report, Cultivating Young Leaders in the Fight to End Gender-Based Violence, detailing the project’s goals, methodology, findings, and recommendations
  • Read our blog post about our work with Youth LEADS, including reflections from four young women from YWCA Minneapolis and YWCA Greater Baton Rouge about their experience participating in these conversations
  • Watch a livestream recording of the March 2019 Youth LEADS event in Washington, DC, where the team shared their initial findings and chatted with a youth panel about how young people are changing the culture to end gender-based violence