Florida Youth Leadership Academy
The mission of Florida Youth Leadership Academy (FYLA) is to inspire young leaders through building healthy relationships, exploring leadership development, and actively engaging within their communities.
"FYLA has taught me how to stand up for myself, how to speak up and don't let anyone push me in the corner. FYLA has given me my strength again when I started to give up. I learned to not let my past define the young woman i am going to become.”
“I ended up getting a mentor who saw the good in me when nobody else did. I had a mentor who believed I’m capable of more than I was putting in and showing the world. My mentor gave me faith in myself to strive for greatness and find my purpose in life again when I thought there was nothing else in this world for me. She gave me my voice when I couldn't speak, when everyone else turned their backs on me, when others stop believing in me she believed."
-FYLA Class of 2017 Graduate
FYLA was established in December 2007 under the direction of Florida's Department of Children and Families’ Child Welfare Leadership Program (CWLP) and Connected by 25 (Cby25). This idea began as part of the CWLP’s project. The CWLP was a professional development program for adults who worked in child welfare and who had been identified as future senior leaders in the field. Class III of the CWLP chose to create FYLA as their statewide project. The group believed that the positive experiences they and other CWLP graduates have benefited from could be replicated in a mentorship program for youth involved in the child welfare system.
FYLA is for youth involved with Florida's child welfare system who meet the eligibility criteria. FYLA consists of four to six trips over a seven to nine-month period along with scheduled off-month themes with face-to-face meet-ups between the mentor and the mentee. The mentees get matched with an adult mentor. Mentors must be employed with DCF, a CBC, or their subcontracted providers. FYLA is designed to provide ongoing support, mentoring, and collective engagement through activities that reinforce the learning goals and objectives of each FYLA class. Taking these skills back to their community and having the mentees reinvest in other local youth is a key component of the program.
The FYLA mentor and mentee applications are now available and are by Friday, December 15.