Youth Leadership (YL) is a ten-month leadership enrichment program for high school sophomores, juniors and seniors representing schools throughout our community. The curriculum builds a foundation of leadership skills, an awareness of community issues, an appreciation for diversity and a commitment to lifelong community service.

Applications will open February 1, 2020.


Students meet once a month to explore Buffalo in an educational way to increase appreciation and awareness of our community.

We focus on topics such as economic development, social justice, arts and cultures, diversity and entrepreneurship.




YL targets a diverse group of students who have leadership potential but who may or may not have had experience in positions of leadership within their schools.

Public, private and charter schools are represented by a group of 50 students each year. This program values diversity and aspires to include as many different high schools as possible.




The program environment is a non-traditional form of learning. The city is our "classroom".

Throughout the year, we perform leadership development trainings in various topics including, team building, diversity, business ethics and social etiquette. The year focuses on Servant Leadership traits and relies on experiential learning.




Each student is tasked with developing and executing a community service project in a small group of their peers. Our elaborate mentoring program seeks help from our Leadership Buffalo alumni.

Advisors meet with the students monthly to set attainable goals and ensure the project stays on task. At each meeting the advisors report on the progress of the group and the individuals. These projects are showcased at the final day session.

Applications for 2020/2021

Selection is made by a committee of community representatives and program alumni. All applicants will receive notification of their status in July. Because Leadership Buffalo, Inc. commonly receives more applications than the program allows for, we regret that not all applicants are accepted into the program.

Attendance is required at the Parent/Student Orientation, the Opening Retreat and the Monthly Day Sessions. Transportation to and from each session is the responsibility of the parent and/or guardian. Details regarding attendance and other programmatic information will be shared at the parent orientation.

Program Information

  • Overnight Retreat - Youth Leadership begins with an Opening Retreat held August 6, 2020. This retreat will provide the foundation for the year-long Youth Leadership program. The Retreat is also designed to create a team atmosphere amongst the participants. The opening retreat is mandatory and transportation is not available.

  • Day Sessions - Students will meet once a month on Thursday's for a half-day session from 12pm - 4pm (September - May); these introduce participants to a variety of community issues. Each session will include interacting with community leaders pertaining to the day session topic allowing students to have meaningful discussion and provide ideas on how they can address these issues. 
    • -  August 6, 2020
      -  September 24, 2020
      -  October 22, 2020
      -  November 12, 2020
      -  December 17, 2020
      -  January 7, 2021
      -  February 11, 2021
      -  March 11, 2021
      -  April 22, 2021
      -  May 20, 2021
      -  June 24, 2021 (Graduation)
  • Community Service Project - Students will take part in service learning projects during the course of the program. Students are expected to commit a designated amount of time at each day session and execute their project by the end of the program year. Leadership Buffalo, Inc. provides assistance to help students secure these opportunities and track their progress.

  • Parent and Student Orientation - A program orientation for parents and selected students will be held on July 27th and 28th. You will be sent an email to select one date to attend.

  • Tuition - The program tuition is $750. Thanks to local funding, we are able to provide a limited number of scholarships. Please complete the scholarship request form in addition to the application for consideration. Scholarship requests are confidential and not considered during the selection process. Please contact Kate Piazza at 849-2626 ext. 16 or for more scholarship information.