The Youth Leadership Institute of Erie is the only youth development and education program of its kind in Erie.


Develop high school students into leaders who are informed, motivated, and committed to working toward an improved quality of life and an improved community.


YLI's High School Leadership Program is an integral part of the School's commitment to teach students personal responsibility and to encourage independent thinking.

Participants learn techniques and develop leadership skills to employ over the course of their high school years. The Leadership Program is initially introduces students of grades nine to twelve to a plethora leadership characteristics, styles and practical situations. Led by a leadership instructor, local men and women in leadership roles, and past students this seminar explains the leadership curriculum and allows for beginning work on basic skills so that students receive hands-on experience with the program.

Following the completion of the eight-week (32 hour) instructional and team-building component — which also requires that students attend a board meeting and write up and present a Government Analysis Paper — students, returning to their home schools, are assigned local or regional non-profit instructors to assist in a four week process of direct service learning and reflection. Classes are held in the Palumbo Building of Gannon University.

Once students have completed the program — which includes turning in a completed notebook; a government analysis, several self-assessments; pre- and post- protocols, and mid- and final course evaluations — students are encouraged to continue participation in leadership skills through the Student Ambassadors Leadership Team (S.A.L.T.) Students function to identify other potential students in their schools for the leadership training and to encourage others to help in community outreach projects. Currently this part of the program functions under the auspices of the Program Director. Weekly meetings are also held in Gannon University's Palumbo Building. Under the guidance of the Leadership Program of Mercyhurst College, a summer camp in leadership is currently being offered for the students working in S.A.L.T.

Within the last year, students who are alumni and currently pursuing degrees in colleges have come together to form what has been called, Alumni S.A.L.T. They discuss with the student S.A.L.T. ways in which they are using their skills of leadership in their local colleges. This board also assists students in working on service learning aspects.


Ameera Rose

"As a young student who is now attending Mercyhurst University, I know the worth and value of this program."

Maurice Nowlin

"I will be starting classes in the fall as a freshman at Gannon University. As a former student of Youth Leadership Institute of Erie, the program has helped me remain focused and realize the importance of an education."

Marquise Adams Jr.

"I am entering my first year at Penn State Behrend. I can only reflect back and say thank you to Mr. Edison and Mr. Del Rio for their support and instructions."