Urban Word’s Youth Leadership Council (YLC) has been a cornerstone of our organization since 1999, and is an opportunity for our young poets to grow as artists, mentors, educators and leaders. YLC is another pre-professional, creative development program geared to elevate youth's craft and skills. YLC Members lead peer to peer workshops, produce the #UWFirstDraft open mic series, and are the face for and to the youth community at Urban Word NYC. The YLC helps drive all programming at UW and keeps our work relevant and impactful to the thousands of teens we serve each year. There are many responsibilities of YLC members, and also numerous opportunities that only YLC members get to take advantage of.




Each year, a group of 15-20 youth from our community are selected to serve on the Youth Leadership Council. They have regular office hours; attend meetings with staff, school partners and funders; and facilitate workshops, open mics and slams. They are the bridge between our staff and youth community, which is the key to our student-centered social justice pedagogy. No major organizational decisions are made without their input and support.

Youth Council members are the torchbearers of our movement, gaining artistic and professional development skills that will help to shape their career ideals.

As a Youth Council Member you will:

  • Receive personal mentorship

  • Be offered customized Workshops from Urban Word’s Poet-in-Residence

  • Learn to develop professional portfolios

  • Earn opportunities to cultivate your art across a number of genres.

  • Produce and coordinate monthly open mics in Brooklyn and Harlem

  • Facilitate your own workshops, Town Hall meetings, and Teen Poetry Slams

  • As a team, produce an annual showcase of their work entitled: YB Heard

  • Earn a stipend (*stipends are only available as funding permits)

For more information email

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Applications are acceptED on a rolling basis.