Young Ambassadors Chosen to Raise the Voices of the Nation's Opportunity Youth

March 13, 2012

The Youth Leadership Institute announced the selection of youth ambassadors to serve as spokespeople for a campaign to raise awareness and spark action to help the nation’s Opportunity Youth.  Opportunity Youth are young Americans ages 16-24 who are disconnected from education and from work — more than 6 million youth and young adults nationwide.

The eleven youth and young adults were selected because of their powerful personal stories about overcoming challenges to successfully engage in education and work, many of them through vital “pathways” that provided them with real work skills, mentors, internships, and social and financial support.

The Youth Leadership Institute selected the ambassadors as part of its effort to help bring powerful youth voices to national and community discussions about providing opportunity as a way of supporting the work of the White House Council for Community Solutions.  The Council is identifying ways that every American community can create the civic infrastructure or local road map to move youth along pathways to education, employment, and ongoing civic participation.

The Youth Ambassadors:

Jairus Cater of Nashville, TN, age 20, is a student at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, was the first in his family to attend college, and found his calling serving those he saw experiencing unemployment, gangs, drug abuse, and incarceration in his community. Cater interned at the Nashville Career Advancement Center and the Oasis Youth Opportunity Center, and later became a co-chair of the Nashville Mayor’s Child and Youth Master Plan Task Force.


Ryan Dalton of New Orleans LA, age 22, is a student at Southern University at New Orleans and a chef and floor trainer at Cafe Reconcile.  Dalton credits Café Reconcile’s job training program with changing his life in a crime-filled neighborhood following his dislocation after Hurricane Katrina and putting him on a clear track to success.  Ryan is also a winner of the SparkOpportunity Challenge.

Read Ryan in the Huffington Post:  No Longer Fighting the Streets and Working to Reconnect Others.