The Initiative’s Youth Leadership Program aims to develop the next generation of North Carolina leaders through an intensive, innovative five-week summer program.  The 2018 session convened in Raleigh on June 14 and 15 to begin the program.  Interns gathered again in Raleigh on July 5 – 7 and for the final two days of the program on July 26 and 27.

In 2017 the organization celebrated the 10th Anniversary of this unique program with a new video:

Through three sets of forums in Raleigh the program challenges rising high school seniors to hone their leadership, teamwork, and professional development skillsInterns gather every two weeks in Raleigh to share experiences and participate in forums designed to hone their leadership skills, including:

  • Conflict resolution
  • Financial literacy
  • Servant leadership principles
  • Personal branding and marketing
  • Ethics and personal values

During their time in Raleigh the interns also participate in field trips to the N.C. General Assembly and other key state landmarks to introduce them to potential future career paths and to give them the opportunity to meet with innovative leaders at work.  The Initiative also introduces the students to the world of community economic development.  and provides a stipend for each young leader.

When I see these young people, and when I see the transformation that happens in them in a short period of time, it encourages me that transformation is possible for all of us.
–  Initiative CEO Tara Kenchen

In years past interns have worked with organizations in their home community to complete projects such as coordinating a community health fair, assisting with creating a business plan, creating youth programs for children, building community gardens, developing community outreach campaigns and assisting with the documentation of the organization’s work in the community (via photos, video, testimonials, reports, etc.).

For information, contact Barron or Katrina Damon, (919) 858-6330,

Many thanks to our sponsors

BB&T Oak Foundation Z Smith Reynolds Foundation Wells Fargo PNC Suntrust Kate B Reynolds Charitable Trust Local First Bank Fifth Third Bank First Tennessee Bank