The following are select testimonials from students, professors, teachers and parents involved in YLC.
"I would like to thank you for one of the most amazing weeks of my life. I am only 14 so maybe I have a few more weeks in the future but this program had been so beneficial for me and I can't believe how much I learned in the short period I had with you all. Even just a week after the program I am able to use the skills I learned and more and more opportunities continue to arrive. Just this past weekend I got the opportunity to practice soccer with a nationally ranked team and they invited me to come back! I believe that YLC made me more confident going into that opportunity and that was just in the first week. I cannot wait to see how our website is going to turn out as well. I am so excited to see where this takes us and if somehow it doesn't turn out, now I know how I can make an impact in my community and beyond. I just wanted to let you know that you have had such an impact on me and I am so grateful for YLC."
- YLC Vail Student, 2015
"YLC was one of the best experiences in my life. At first I doubted the effectiveness of creating a social change project in just 5 days. But I was amazed by seeing and experiencing all that a person can do in that time.
Plus, it was very eye-opening to talk to and share with teens from various places and that were family members of important people in puerto rican economy. It was very interesting to learn about their thoughts on what makes a person successful and what motivates them.
But the most important thing that I got from it is the confidence and motivation to do things. Recently I've been unmotivated to do most things. I've also not had any type of support or mentorship from any source. Thank you, YLC team for your help in a time where I've hit this sort of rut in my life. For that I'm ever grateful.
So if you guys ever need a writer, a public speaker, a bad stand-up comedian, an amateur photographer, dancer (sorry couldn’t find any of my breakdancing, hip-hop, african and contemporary dance videos), struggling actor, website designer, coder, math geek, or just whatever, don’t hesitate to contact me".
- YLC Puerto Rico Student, 2014
“While on the T home I thought about the best way to summarize my experience of the past few days, I felt that my confessional about being bossy and changing could be turned into something much deeper. I thought about people who inspire me, and the classic example of Gandhi popped into my mind. Gandhi led through grassroots movements and often said “be the change you want to see in the world”, but the thing is he never set a standard for the “You”. He didn’t say “The Young be the change they want to see in the world” or “The strong be the change they want to be in the world”. Youth lead the change captured the essence of his idea: that all people possess an individual talent or sparkle that when utilized effectively creates phenomenal change making.”
- YLC Boston Student, 2011
First, I just want to thank you for these amazing pas t few days. Not only have you taught me about leadership but you really inspired me to try new things, and just move forward. And the best part is, I’m not as afraid as I was before going to YLC, because you taught me that failure can lead to success and it’s not something that we should be afraid of. All my life everyone around me demanded perfection from me — perfect grades and test scores. At YLC, I learned that I could combine my skills and passions to do things that I used to be scared to do. I learned that leadership is about standing up for what is important and taking action to help others.
- YLC Japan Student, 2013
“Youth Lead the Change Bhutan was a transformative experience for the Bhutanese and Harvard students who participated in the program. The experience empowered the Bhutanese students to go out and develop their leadership through sharing the curriculum with youth throughout Bhutan. Most importantly the program presented students from both countries with the opportunity to learn about one another, to share ideas, ask questions, challenge themselves personally and intellectually and form lasting relationships.”
- Professor David Ager, Harvard Business School (guest speaker and LIHC Advisor)
“Leadership training interventions are important at any stage in one’s life, but can be especially impactful during transitional moments and formative periods. YLC is an outstanding initiative that engages youth who are usually at once receptive to and unfamiliar with the key elements of leadership.”
- Professor Ranjay Gulati, Harvard Business School (guest speaker and YLC Advisor)
YLC Japan was extremely fulfilling to me on several different levels. I am extremely passionate about leadership ethics and theory and believe that understanding a few basic principals can change a person’s life for the better. These values and principles are things that changed my life 5 years ago as a sophomore in high school. I think about these values every single day. I wish I knew these ideas even earlier than 10th grade, but I can’t change that now. What I can do is spread these ideas to as many people as possible. While I will admittedly didn’t expect to ever teach students as young as the ones we taught in Japan, they were surprisingly receptive to the ideas we threw at them. It was so fulfilling to see the older students be able to ‘teach back’ the information to me and each other. And it was just as fulfilling to hear the younger ones using the same vocabulary. While the younger ones probably couldn’t teach these concepts to others, it was obvious that they understood the ideas and were taking ownership of them to some degree, using some of the same vocabulary I used and referencing big ideas later in the camp. I am incredibly passionate about youth leadership. I think it is the most lacking part of the education system world wide. After only 5 days with these kids, watching their understanding of leadership and communities and public speaking and zoom from zero to sixty… Well there is really nothing like it.
- Dean Itani, Harvard Class of 2015, LIHC Executive Board Member
My experience with YLC Japan marked one of the most fulfilling weeks of “work” I have ever had. The students were extremely eager to learn and grow despite facing new and difficult material that was being presented to them in a foreign language. The lesson I will particularly remember that the students seemed hesitant to grasp at first, but were extremely receptive to later in the week, was that taking risks that may lead to initial failure is an important first step in a successful venture. While it was fairly difficult to elicit strong responses from the students at the beginning of the week, I was amazed to see their confidence grow throughout the week in offering new ideas and perspectives that allowed the class to grow together. This culminated in exceptional final presentations during which the students proudly stood in front of the class, and confidently projected their voice to the audience about an issue they were passionate about solving. And even after the program ended and the teachers returned to the US, students sent inquisitive emails to us wondering how they could continue to be effective leaders in their communities. It was an amazing collection of students I am thankful to have worked with, and I think it is a program that can positively impact students of all ages across Japan.
– Charlie Anastasi, Harvard Class of 2015, Social Outreach
“I wanted to send a note of appreciation to you for the great job you did this summer at camp…my daughter loved it. I have to admit, that I was initially skeptical about the premise…how do you inspire leadership in just a few short days? I couldn’t imagine it would make any difference to my daughter, other than being an interesting summer diversion. But I was wrong! Since school began this September, she has shown a new determination to do well and to expand her network of friends. She tackles her homework speedily each night instead of allowing it to stretch into hours. I asked her why the big change? She answered, “I’m embarrassed to admit it, but the YLC camp really inspired me to work hard at everything I do this year.” I was shocked to hear that! But it seems to be true, in sports as well as academics.” -YLC parent