Hi! My name is Leah Tahmassian.
I am a delegate in high school from the Burbank Delegation, attending my third year of California YMCA's Youth and Government. Youth and Government is a program that has been teaching middle and high school students leadership skills for over 70 years.
Joining this program has been the best decision I have made in my entire life. The experiences I have gained in the past three years have changed my perspective on life for the better, allowing me to explore a variety of views in social and educational situations.
I remember having to speak in front of my small delegation for the first time right when I had started the program. I was nervous and afraid to present to five delegates since I feared that I would be judged for my beliefs and my ideals. However, I learned quickly that this program is not a place of judgement, and I was inspired by Youth and Government as speakers and fellow delegates encouraged everyone to break out of our comfort zones. So, after some time, I did exactly that. The crowds I spoke to went from five, to sixteen, to one hundred and fifty, to four hundred! Not only did I gain confidence in public speaking, but I gained confidence in myself with the acknowledgment that everything I have to say is significant.
Unfortunately, not everyone can gain these wonderful experiences. Due to the cost of Youth and Government, many students are unable to afford it, which forces them to stay out of this life-chainging program. That is where the Future Leaders Campaign comes in. Out of the over 3,000 delegates who are currently in the program, about 1,000 rely on scholarships and financial aid in order to be a part of Youth and Government. Every donation to the Future Leaders Campaign goes to scholarships and financial aid so students who are unable to afford this program can have these inspiring experiences.
Youth and Government has changed me for the better. Now, my mission is to make sure students who are unable to afford this program will be able to experience it. Please join me and consider donating to change the lives of many students. Every single donation, even a dollar, makes a huge impact. Together, we can make a difference!