Inside South Florida


United Way Youth Leadership Institute

Posted at 10:59 AM, May 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-29 11:00:01-04

United Way of Broward County’s Commission on Behavioral Health & Drug Prevention’s Broward Youth Coalition will host its annual Youth Leadership Institute June 13th and 14th at Nova Southeastern University.

The commission will choose the top 100 applicants to attend the free conference, but you must be a Broward County High School student to apply. And if you do attend, get ready for a life-changing experience.

"Essentially at it's core, the Youth Leadership Institute is a two-day, one-night leadership conference, where we focus on topics such as youth empowerment and engaging with the young bright minds of the new generations," said Donald Raphael, President of the Broward Youth Coalition.

It’s a jam packed event, filled with workshops and sessions. Here’s just some of what you’ll experience.

"Over the course of the two-day event, some of the workshops that we have will expand on mental health awareness, drug abuse, and just advocating for the enhancement of the youth," said Markel Barreau, Vice President of the Broward Youth Coalition.

Both Donald and Markel have attended the event in the past, and it’s had a profound effect on both of them.

"The Youth Leadership  was definitely a very pivotal moment in my life. My first one that attend was when I was a sophomore, at that moment in time I wasn't  in the best situation mentally, financially or academically. I almost had given up on school because my grades were dropping. Being apart of the Youth Leadership Institute and having so many wonderful people around me overall helped turn my life around, " said Raphael.

"What it taught me, was friendship and the strength of friendship. In high school my freshman and sophomore year, I basically had no friends. Attending the Youth Leadership Institute I made so many new friends, like Donald here who I still talk to today," said Barreau.

One of the cool additions to this year’s conference is an escape room. And it has a special theme.

"The clues are all mental health and drug abuse related. In order to get to the next clue to try and escape the room, you have to know the statistics and the facts," said Raphael.

To apply to the Youth Leadership Institute, head to 

But do so quickly because the application deadline is June 4th.