We inspire and mobilize youth leaders to reflect upon their values and beliefs, connect with others across differences and act together.

Youth LEAD (Leaders Engaging Across Differences) is a program headquartered at Emerson College that provides a year-long youth leadership and training opportunities for high school students grades 9–12 in Sharon, Massachusetts and surrounding towns. Youth LEAD has been operating programs in Sharon since 2004.

Youth LEAD provides students with an opportunity to gain valuable leadership skills by deepening their understanding of historical and present systems of oppression through a social justice framework. Students will also strengthen their collaboration and communication skills to continue to build more just and equitable spaces. Through this program, participants continue to deepen their knowledge, raise questions and take action within communities. 

Youth LEAD allowed me to take on a leadership role that taught me the true art of leading, a skill that I have used in many positions in college and outside since.

Program Overview

Youth LEAD will meet twice monthly on Sundays, 6 to 8 p.m. in person in Sharon, MA (Exact location TBD)

Program Commitment

Participants must commit to missing no more than two program meetings during the year. Youth LEAD will observe holiday, February vacation, and April vacation breaks in accordance with the SPS calendar.

Program Fees

This year program fees will be offered on a sliding scale from $0-$500. For more information and to register, complete this form: Youth LEAD 2021-2022 Program Application Form. A link to our secure payment portal will be sent upon submission.

History of Youth LEAD

In 1998 two synagogues in Sharon, MA were vandalized and town residents received hate mail from an out-of-state address. Sharon’s religious leaders, including Father Robert Bullock, a founding board member of Facing History and Ourselves and pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church in Sharon, MA, called in the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) to help the town take a stand against these acts of vandalism. With this support, the town united against the vandalism and hate-mongering.

After working with the clergy in town, the ADL created and supported the Sharon ADL Interfaith Youth Leadership Program from 1999–2002. Grateful for this initial support, Interfaith Action incorporated in 2004 and later in 2011 changed its name to Youth LEAD (Youth Leaders Engaging Across Differences) to reflect our broader focus on cultural, ethnic and religious diversity and to better express the pivotal role that youth play in planning and running our programs.

In 2018, Youth LEAD launched a new partnership with Emerson College’s Elma Lewis Center. All administrative functions have since been relocated to Emerson College with a satellite program site operating in Sharon.

Contact Us

For general inquiries, please contact our team at youthlead [at] emerson.edu or 617-824-8927.