Virginia Excels’ Youth Ambassador Program (YAP) is an intensive training program to equip, engage, and empower students to become active participants in education policy making decisions in their district and state. During this 12 month-fellowship, students will accomplish the following: 

•     Develop leadership, public & persuasive speaking and advocacy skills by meeting with policymakers

•     Conduct a listening tour about education among their peers and communities throughout Virginia

•     Develop impactful policy initiatives which address at least one issue that was presented during the listening tour (these solutions will have action steps for both local and state government)

•     Learn how to build and sustain effective coalitions

•     Be inspired to become long-term, engaged, citizens


The purpose of YAP is to provide students with the tools and capabilities to improve education policy that directly affects them and their classmates. The objective is to prioritize students by elevating their voices to their maximum potential – by training them to advocate for better educational practices.


Must be a high school student in the 2019-20 academic year

An interest in improving education for all children

Passion for advocacy

Eagerness to learn while doing 


80%+ attendance at all scheduled meetings. Meetings will be held monthly, for one year (the monthly stipend is contingent upon your attendance)

Completion of monthly assessments

Participation in at least four (4) community events not hosted by Virginia Excels (School Board meetings, local community meetings, PTA meeting, etc.)

Our application period has closed for the 2019-2020 academic year.