Youth Leadership Council

A youth-led group of high school students in the Yakima Valley creating a positive impact through philanthropy and leadership. The program includes a selection of diverse students who receive training about diversity, equity, our community, grantmaking, philanthropy, and non-profits. The annual cohort is given $50,000-$100,000 to grant in the Yakima Valley where they believe they'd like to make a difference.

Longtime Yakima Resident, Helen Jewett, left a legacy across the Yakima Valley that transcended her lifetime. One of her many estate gifts provided funding for the development of young philanthropists. Thanks to Helen's generosity, a group of high school students partake in a yearly immersive curriculum that teaches philanthropic best practices, develops leadership skills, and builds empathy.

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Get involved

Want to make an impact in your community? Join the Youth Leadership Council and make a difference today!

Member Benefits

  • Stipend Based
  • Volunteer & Community Engagement Hours
  • Develop leadership and communication skills.
  • Make an impact in your community


  • Currently enrolled in a Yakima County High School.
  • Attend meetings regularly.
  • Desire to give back to your community.

Youth Leadership video

How Yakima Grows the Next Generation of Leaders

The generosity and forethought of Helen Jewett is creating generations of philanthropic leaders and engaged young residents. We've created a short video about this amazing program and some of the members of the Youth Leadership Council. 


Valeria Lopez

Valeria Lopez

Valeria Lopez, a 12th-grade student at Sunnyside High School participating in YVCC's Running Start program, has demonstrated remarkable leadership and community impact through her involvement with the Youth Leadership Council. As the 2024 Miss Yakima County and a dedicated CNA at Multicare Yakima Memorial Hospital’s Psychiatric Unit, she balances her academic pursuits with meaningful community service. Additionally, Valeria is an intern for a State Representative candidate in District 15, showcasing her commitment to public service. Her diverse talents also include participation in 509 All-Star Cheer Athletics and Ballet Folklórico.

Indiana Hilmes

Council Member


Indiana is currently in the 12th grade and is attending Selah High School. Indiana is looking forward to making a positive impact in our community while highlighting a youth perspective. Some of her favorite activities include writing, reading, tennis, skiing, and baking.

Mia Toscano


My name is Mia Toscano. I am in the 12th grade. I go to school at A.C. Davis High School. I’ve become more aware of the important complications that happen within my community and granted non-profit organizations to serve their targeted population. In my free time I like reading books, spending time with my siblings or playing with my dog. Summer is my favorite season because I’m able to go to parks, have carne asadas, go to the lake and can grab ice-cream with my siblings on a nice sunny day!

Angel Gonzalez


Angel Gonzalez, a 12th-grade student at Sunnyside High School, is also enrolled in the YVCC Running Start program. Angel enjoys listening to music, quality time with family, and actively contributes to his community through volunteering, reflecting his commitment to making a difference.

Brissa Gonzalez


Brissa Gonzalez, a senior at Sunnyside High School, is making the most of her education by participating in the YVCC Running Start program. She finds joy in drawing, cherishes time spent with family and friends, enjoys fishing, and loves to explore the great outdoors.

Luna Tumber

Luna Tumber

Luna Tumber, a 9th grader at Davis High School, has embraced a more open-minded approach since joining the Youth Leadership Council. Luna's interests are diverse, including hiking, basketball, volleyball, as well as cooking and baking. She also enjoys unwinding by listening to music while reading.

Wilson Harper

Wilson Harper

I'm Wilson Harper, a junior at A.C. Davis High School. My journey with the Youth Leadership Council has been an incredible learning experience, introducing me to the diverse ways people contribute to enhancing Yakima County. It's fascinating to see the variety of efforts in action. My interests are broad, spanning from participating in the Technology Student Association to engaging in hobbies like flying and constructing quadcopters, exploring computer hardware, and immersing myself in video games. I also have a passion for reading, with my tastes covering fiction, non-fiction, and really, anything I can get my hands on.

Alberto Barragan

Alberto Barragan

My name is Alberto Barragan I am a junior at AC Davis High School as well as a full-time running start student at YVC. As a member of the youth leadership council, I have gained valuable insights. However, the most significant one is I have gained a greater understanding of the complex issues that affect my community and the valuable work carried out by non-profit organizations. I have a diverse range of interests that include outdoor activities like hiking and fishing, as well as being an active member of the Technology Student Association. I am also passionate about STEM-related hobbies, such as building gliders and collecting Lego sets.

Luanna Huang

Luanna Huey

Luanna Huang is a dedicated 11th-grade student currently attending Eisenhower High School. As a member of the Youth Leadership Council, she has gained valuable experience by working with like-minded peers and learning the importance of community engagement. In her free time, Luanna enjoys playing the piano, writing, participating in Speech and Debate, spending time with friends, taking long car rides, and exploring libraries or bookshops.

Damian Saenz

Damian Saenz

I'm Damian Saenz, a junior at Sunnyside High School. My experience with the Youth Leadership Council has taught me the critical role of youth voices and the value of contributing to our community. My hobbies range from playing soccer and the piano to watching movies, spending time with friends, and enjoying moments with my dog.

MIa Dahg

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I'm Mia Dahg, a senior at Sunnyside High School, also attending Yakima Valley College. Being part of the Youth Leadership Council has broadened my horizons, giving me the chance to hear from a diverse group of students across the valley on significant issues. It's been enlightening to gain so many different perspectives. In my free time, I enjoy a variety of activities, including reading, listening to music, playing video games, and watching cartoons.

Mayra Quintero

Grants & Programs Associate

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316 E. Yakima Avenue, Suite 201
Yakima, WA 98901

Phone: (509) 457-7616

Lindsay Boswell

Chief Program Officer

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316 E. Yakima Avenue, Suite 201
Yakima, WA 98901

Phone: (509) 457-7616