Youth Leadership


Started in 2014, CARECEN’s youth leadership development program works with Latino and other immigrant youth in Washington, DC. Our after school meeting times are supplemented by excursions and other hands-on activities throughout the year. Through activities that highlight the importance of education, community involvement, and civic engagement, the program aims to help participants build the skills necessary to become leaders among their peers and in their communities.Publication2

CARECEN’s youth participants engage in activities around the following themes:

Identity, Team-building and Community: Students work with their peers to reflect on how their personal identities come together to form a community and to identify the communities they are a part of.

Human Rights and Social Change: Students learn about human rights, and identify human rights issues in their own lives. They study historical social change movements and leaders, and identify effective strategies for social change. Most importantly, they discuss social justice issues in their own communities.

Community Service and Civic Participation: Students learn about the ways in which they can participate in their communities, and get to know the resources available through local government. They will consider what community service means and participate in local service projects.

Leadership: Students explore what good leadership qualities are, identifying their own leadership skills and skills they wish to improve on; before beginning their own leadership projects.


Vigils for Children Fleeing Violence: youth2

In November 2014, students planned the final in a series of vigils in front of the White House to draw attention to the large influx of unaccompanied minors seeking refuge from violence in their home countries.


Petition to Principal to increase security in school bathrooms:

Students identified issues that affect them in the school and wrote petition to call the principal’s attention to acts of bullying and violence that happen in the schools bathrooms. Students denounced routine assaults, being stripped of property, threats and name calling by other students. Students circulated the petition and gathered signatures and support from their peers.


Vos y tu Voz:

CARECEN partnered with photojournalist Oliver Contreras to develop a multimedia program to turn their experiences into powerful stories. Students participate in storytelling workshops, a photo project, practice interviews and resume building techniques, and are collaborating in organizing a photo exhibit with Oliver Contreras.


  • Scholarship Fair at Mary’s Center
  • Language Access Hearing at DC City Council
  • La Nueva Radio Station (87.7FM) studios
  • National Zoo
  • Picnics
  • Soccer games
  • Kayaking
  • among others!


If you would like more information, or to get involved, please contact Rachel Gittinger by email at or by phone at (202) 328-9799 ext. 223