Youth Ambassadors is an innovative collaboration of community partners in the Kansas City metropolitan area who, in 2010, joined forces to implement a state-of-the art, not-for-profit work program for under-served youth. Youth from both sides of the state line, Kansas and Missouri, are hired as ambassadors of their neighborhoods during non-school hours when teenagers are most vulnerable to negative influences. With direction from community leaders, our youth build on their knowledge of what is happening on the streets and learn how they can stand up for positive change. We teach them that their voice counts. Youth Ambassadors believes that youth need to take ownership of their communities – the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful – before effective change can occur. To this end, we hire our ambassadors to explore their communities through digital photography, documentary production, writing, art, historical references and intimate interviews. In the process, our ambassadors explore themselves, their role in the community and the issues about which they feel most passionate. In addition Youth Ambassadors provides guidance in anger management, crisis resolution, recognition of impediments to success, fiscal responsibility, goal setting, healthy relationships, leadership skills and informed choices. We also provide year round academic support, teach soft job skills, and help each Ambassador set a clear objective for high school graduation and a post high school academic or career plan. Our program is designed to provide a “first job” experience. Through the receipt of a paycheck our youth learn banking skills and fiscal responsibility, work place parameters, and personal accountability. Our Youth Ambassadors are our future community leaders. We work to empower them.