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Youth Leadership Academy

Program Description 

CVC UNIDO’s Youth Leadership Academy seeks to foster leadership skills among Cape Verdean Youth.  The 7 week program provides teens the opportunity to develop their opinions and put their beliefs into action towards the social change they desire.  Youth will develop research skills, write and practice public speaking, participate in on-going community projects, and host a culminating Youth Summit.

Program Need

The Cape Verdean Community has historically been without a public voice that reflects the size and opinions of the population.  As a result the community has been victimized by violence and social inequities on an uninterrupted basis.  The Bowdoin-Geneva Corridor, where many Cape Verdean families live, has long been identified by police as one of the top 5 hot spots for youth violence in Boston.  Through promoting leadership and a vision for effecting social change, we feel that youth will become empowered to break the cycle of violence for their friends, their families, and themselves.

Target Population

  • Cape Verdean youth ages 15 – 22
  • An emphasis on youth who have immigrated from Cape Verde
  • Youth who otherwise lack public speaking and leadership skills

No city residency requirement, though our core population base lives in the Dorchester and Roxbury neighborhoods


In 2013 CVC UNIDO won the MassVote award for the Youth Academy.  In 2014, CVC UNIDO was the winner of the Youth Advocate of the Year Award from the Massachusetts Advocates for Children for its important work helping teach young people advocacy skills. 30 high school children have graduated from this program.