There are intensifying voices being heard from Washington D.C to South Los Angeles…

Voices who have inherited the repercussions of policies that did not take their lives into consideration.

Voices who will have to pay the price, emotionally and financially, for a landscape they did not sow.

They are Youth Leaders – Empowered, Active & Diverse. 

CDTech’s YLEAD Program (Youth Leaders Empowered Active & Diverse) is a home for some of these local voices. YLEADers are students from several local high schools – Maya Angelou, Santee, Jefferson, Quantum Synergy and Jackie Robinson Animo Senior High Schools – who are looking to become change agents in their community.

Over the course of the school year CDTech Youth Coordinators, comprised of 4 young residents of South Central Los Angeles, have brought together YLEADers to have dialogues on issues affecting them and their community, such as: gentrification, rising cost of rent, college & career pathway opportunities and local policy-making.

But the YLEAD Program is far from an after-school enrichment program. YLEADers are developing a sociopolitical systems analysis that will be integrated into a collaborative community-based service learning project. In addition to their after-school discussions, YLEADers have already completed a Community Planning and Economic Development course at Los Angeles Trade Tech Community College and will be participating in another course in conjunction with capacity-building internships during their summer break.




Can’t stop, won’t stop… 

While Spring Break offers a bit of a respite from their studies, YLEADers take no respite from continuing to build their leadership. During their break this week, the group of young leaders went on a guided community tour of South Los Angeles. The group, lead by CDTech President, Benjamin Torres, visited the Lorenzo apartment complex, USC Village as well as the future sites of the Lucas Museum, The Reef development and Banc of California Soccer Stadium to gain an understanding as to how developments are changing the shape of the community.

During the tour, YLEADers also stopped to visit with community leaders to discuss community-based strategies and resources to combat the adverse effects of developments that are driving gentrification and displacement in their communities.

Among them were Jorge Nuño at “The Big House”, a long-standing location for South L.A. community resources as well a tour of City Hall (which only 2 of the youth leaders had ever set foot in) and a meeting with Adriana Cabrera, a South Los Angeles resident and representative for Los Angeles Neighborhood Councils. The tour also took the young leaders to the site of the former South Central Farms where students engaged in a conversation about land-use, community voice and collaborative power.


Jorge Nuño speaks with YLEADers at The Big House

For some youth leaders, the tour offered a first-time opportunity to experience and understand how communities are planned and formed. But for the whole of them, it was a time to take their first collective steps to changing the face of leadership in South Central L.A.


For more information about the YLEAD program, contact Steven Love II at or (213) 762-2520 xt 224