September 4th, 2020 / Source: The Bizz USA
By Haarika Kalahasti; Edited by Pallavi Vemuri
Although COVID-19 has negatively impacted many small businesses, individuals have begun to step up to promote change. Another organization that emerged during this pandemic is Youth Leaders Society.
Youth Leaders Society (YLS) is a global youth organization whose mission is to establish an accepting environment for everyone and create a diverse society. Whether it be fighting social injustices or giving academic advice, YLS provides a platform to share the younger generation's voices. Marina Chen, the founder of YLS and a student interested in business and social change, said, "I truly believe GenZ has so much potential. Our generation, GenZ, is super powerful, and we can change the world if we try." Marina's optimistic and empowering leadership has inspired many teens across the country to engage in advocating for social change. Youth Leaders Society currently has members from six continents, which is impressive considering the organization was started in July of this year! Her vision for Youth Leaders Society is to "continue staying active on current global issues, further diversifying passion projects, expand partnerships, and grow member-wise."
Marina Chen, a student from Lexington, Massachusetts, started YLS as a one-woman show in July of 2020. Because of COVID-19’s restrictions, she admitted that she felt a bit lonely at times and had noticed that many people were starting their own "passion projects." The rising junior was inspired to create her own organization tailored to her own passions: business, community service, and empowerment. With that inspiration, she created YLS, which encompasses a multitude of topics-- including social change, youth empowerment, current events, mental health, and volunteering! After starting the organization, she found other like-minded individuals passionate about the same topics. Marina hopes to "offer a positive place where anyone regardless of background is welcomed and find it as a place to cultivate their passions" through the Youth Leaders Society.
The organization, targeted towards teens interested in bettering their community, has four core values: leadership, diversity, passion, and empathy. Leadership, whether big or small, involves taking targeted initiative to be active in the community. This portion consists of taking the initiative to project efforts across the world, including helping people affected by COVID-19, working on passion projects, or fighting injustices in the community. Youth Leader Society values diversity, as they value each person's unique story and care about every one of its members, no matter what background they are from. In addition, Youth Leaders Society is looking for passionate individuals on topics to help fulfill their mission of empowerment, and truly immerse themselves to make the world a better place. Lastly, YLS is looking for empathetic individuals who understand one another and spread love in this online world of negativity and hate.
Youth Leaders Society focuses on topics that matter in society: social change, current events, and empowerment. To project and spread their knowledge, they create informational Instagram posts on current events, issues on society, mental health, self-care, and more! These posts feature a clean aesthetic, drawing the younger generation's attention. In addition, YLS has monthly issues, which focus on a significant topic relating to current events or global issues that month. These magazines are short, easy-to-read, engaging, and aesthetically pleasing. The monthly issues can be found on their website and their linktree. Another fantastic aspect of these magazines is that they have a segment in their issues called "Youth Leader of the Month." In this portion of the magazine, a member will get a couple of pages dedicated to them, covering their accomplishments and the differences they've made in the community. To get featured, YLS suggests that you reach out to them for further directions. YLS is also going to be involved in leadership summits and conferences in the fall, directed towards youth seeking empowerment. These initiatives are impressive and, for sure, encapsulate the organization's mission.
Behind these impressive initiatives are the executive board and the volunteers, or active members. To become an "active member" of YLS, you must fill out the application found on their website. If you get selected, the team will reach out to you, and you would then choose one of the following leadership positions: researcher, designer, writer, editor, or ambassador. This team is in charge of making the eye-catching Instagram posts, the monthly issues, and planning YLS’s leadership summits.
The founder also started her own small clothing business this summer, becoming an entrepreneur in various aspects. When asked how it was to start her own business, Marina said, "I was worried because almost every other initiative on the platform was very tailored to one specific topic. And Youth Leaders Society covers many. I soon found people who felt the same way about my passions, bringing my confidence." This goes to show that with confidence, the sky's the limit.
Marina's advice to aspiring business owners and entrepreneurs is to be "authentic and confident that your business will grow one day. Even if it's a little growth every day, it's alright. It's still growing, and it will help your business regardless. And don't be discouraged by what others think of it. As long as you are passionate about it, go for it because there are like-minded individuals who feel the same way. Having confidence, being authentic, and passionate about what you are doing will definitely help." Marina, a high school junior, may have unlocked the key ingredients to becoming an effective entrepreneur and launching a successful organization.
The Bizz USA recommends that you check out, follow, and sign up to be an active member at Youth Leaders Society! With the mission to establish an accepting environment for everyone, YLS strives to make the younger generation's voices heard.