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Youth Empowerment

There’s no limit to what they can do.

Whether they want to learn, grow, give back, or just meet someone new, the YMCA offers a variety of programs for young adults to achieve their goals.


Youth Empowerment Programs


No one should have to go it alone. The Y-Achievers program helps high schoolers get career- or college-ready. Workshops, mentorships and college tours help young people define their version of success. Then, we help them figure out their next steps.

The program emphasizes five pillars: academics, college knowledge, positive relationships, life skills and positive identity. It also uses the 6to16 curriculum—an online learning program—to set students up for success in high school and beyond.

Leaders Club

You’re never too young to be a leader. The Leaders Club empowers middle schoolers to be forces for positive change. They learn how to plan programs, mobilize resources and inspire community pride. Through service and volunteering, they become leaders—among their peers, in their community and for the future.

Safe Sitter®

Safe Sitter® prepares students in grades 6-8+ to be safe when they’re home alone, watching younger siblings, or babysitting. Students learn life-saving skills, such as how to rescue someone who is choking, and helpful information like what to do in the event of severe weather. Lessons are filled with fun activities and role-playing exercises.

Young Entrepreneur Program

Our Young Entrepreneur Program empowers future founders. Whether they want to launch a business or a social movement, we’ll help them bring their ideas to life. Workshops and activities develop entrepreneurial skills: defining problems, finding solutions, and pitching ideas.

The program leads up to a Shark-Tank-style pitch. Local entrepreneurs, program staff and peers provide individualized feedback. And as students exchange ideas, they educate and empower one another.

Young Men of Distinction

This leadership program equips young men of color for lifelong success. Local entrepreneurs and leaders act as mentors to middle school students. Together, they identify their passions, dream up ideas, and build leadership skills. They even learn how to turn their ideas into businesses—inspiring their futures.

Youth and Government

The best way to learn about government is to take part in it. Our model legislature and court gives 7th-to-12th graders firsthand experience. Together, they prepare for the annual Model Legislature and Court Conference at the Statehouse.

In the legislature, student reps and senators elect leadership, research current events, and write bills. They debate their bills on the house and senate floors, aiming for the youth governor’s signature.

In the court, students role-play as attorneys or seek election as judges. They learn how to examine a court case, then choose and defend a position. They work together to debate issues with peers and solve problems through democracy.

Youth Employment Services

Our comprehensive services help young adults find a job or continue their education. Funded by EmployIndy, this free program gives them the tools to achieve their potential.

Its holistic approach caters to physical, emotional, social, and mental needs. Participants can even get help earning a High School Equivalency certificate. And we provide 12 months of follow-up support.

You may be eligible if you live in Marion County and are between the ages of 16 and 24. Contact Jamie Rhodman at 317-344-9377 or jrhodman@indymca.org to learn more.

Y Empowerment Zone (After School Program)

The Y Empowerment Zone After School Program is a academic intervention and enrichment program designed to give middle school students extra support with everything from daily homework support to STEAM learning to college and career readiness.

We offer structured activities that are age-appropriate while encouraging a fun and active way to extend learning from the classroom. Our program supports academic achievement, fosters health and wellness, instills positive social and emotional learning and creates opportunities for young people and families to belong and connect.

This program is funded by the 21st Century Community Learning Center and is free of charge for eligible participating students.

The 21st CCLC 2024 local evaluation report for Avondale Meadows Middle School and Homecroft Elementary School will be made available by making a formal request. Formal request can be sent to jrhodman@indymca.org.

YMCA of Greater Indianapolis