YAR — Empowering Students’ Leadership Skills

Youth as Resources (YAR) helps young adults in our community grow their leadership skills. The program was originally started in Racine County in 1996 and became a United Way initiative in 2007.

YAR operates by supporting and promoting young adults as capable community contributors who have the potential to positively transform their community. The initiative allows for the next generation to have a direct input in projects and solutions impacting their neighborhoods and allows for unique opportunities for students. This is achieved by allowing youth groups to apply for funding overseen by the YAR board, which is comprised of The Academies of Racine Mitchell Community School students. It also fosters partnerships between youth and adults as respectful partners who share power and decision making. 

Ali Haigh, United Way of Racine County president and CEO, understands the importance of inspiring young people to become involved in their community.

"YAR is such an influential program for students in Racine County. It allows them to feel like active participants and helps to facilitate change. I hope that it motivates some individuals to consider a career in nonprofit work. As a community, we must work to develop and promote the next evolution of our work. I believe YAR is a great first step in this process.”

Recently, a grant was given to Jr. Cab, a select group of 4th and 5th grade students from Julian Thomas Community School. Katie Tuttle, United Way’s special projects manager, guided the group through the application process. She facilitated conversations about what the funds could accomplish and helped students land on the idea of hosting a pop-up food pantry. The grant was reviewed and approved by The Academies of Racine Mitchell Community School’s YAR board, led by Mitchell Community School Coordinator Kira Munoz. In total, the Jr. Cab students received close to $1,000 and used the funds to give 38 families each a box of food that included nonperishable items like milk, cheese, eggs and bread.