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GLBR Youth Leadership Institute

“I urge that we challenge our youth to come together and work together, serving as an example to their peers and to their elders.”

     -Eric R. Gilbertson, President Emeritus of SVSU, April 14, 2005

The Great Lakes Bay Regional Youth Leadership Institute (GLBRYLI) is an academic year-long community outreach program facilitated by SVSU’s Office of Diversity Programs.  GLBRYLI’s outreach provides a leadership development experience for youth focused on issues related to the intersection of diversity and leadership. During the year-long Institute, 90 high school students are paired with 12 SVSU student mentors and 16 corporate and community volunteers to participate in training sessions led by nationally-trained facilitators and presenters. The GLBRYLI truly represents a long-term investment in providing leadership essential to creating positive individual and collective futures for the diverse youth of the Bay Region who might not otherwise have this opportunity.  This unprecedented youth leadership institute is the only one of its kind in the Great Lakes Bay Region and the only initiative of this type developed by a Michigan four-year university.  

Youth Leadership Mission

 The SVSU Youth Leadership Institute will exist to provide an opportunity for high school leaders from diverse racial, cultural, and socioeconomic communities in the Great Lakes Bay Region and SVSU mentors to gain valuable leadership training and acquire new skills that will help them lead in any community improvement projects.

Goals and Objectives

Students begin the Youth Leadership Institute in October and end with a celebration banquet in April to celebrate leadership development.  The monthly curriculum framework is based on the following objectives:

  • Provide opportunities for students to network with other student leaders and professionals.
  • Partner with SVSU student leaders and organizations.
  • Provide learning experiences for students to reflect on their own leadership style.
  • Promote the importance of diversity, citizenship and stewardship.
  • Discuss areas for personal growth.

Core Pillars

Bringing together this mix of students from various experiences vastly enriches the leadership studies. These student leaders will draw upon their own experiences to make the GLBRYLI a valuable learning experience for themselves and provide a new generation of leaders in the community.  To support the goals and objectives of the Institute, eight core themes or pillars are addressed in the curriculum framework:

  • Leadership Skills
  • Teambuilding
  • Legislative Awareness
  • Diversity Awareness
  • Service Learning (Volunteerism)
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • PX2 Curriculum
  • STEM Education Awareness and Mentoring

Service Learning Projects

Service Learning has been a foundational component of the GLBR Youth Leadership Institute since its inception in 2005 and follows the National Service Learning standards.  The student leaders engage in two established projects [mini-project and student-driven project] which take place in December and March of each year. Youth leaders will plan, organize, and implement each service learning project to bring attention to youth leadership and development in the Saginaw, Bay and Midland Counties of the Great Lakes Bay Region. Some of the past service learning projects and collaborations are:

  • 2015: Hidden Harvest; Flint Water Crisis
  • 2014: First Ward Community Center
  • 2013: Hope House Maternity Shelter - Midland
  • 2013: HIS Restoration Maternity Shelter- Saginaw 
  • 2012: Michigan Gear-Up Mentoring Program (Thompson Middle School and Frances Rhe Academy)
  • 2011: Royal Seed Orphanage, Ghana, Africa
  • 2011: Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library
  • 2010: Girls Scouts Heart of Michigan
  • 2009-2013: Salvation Army Bell Ringing
  • 2009: Tuscola Street Community Garden
  • 2008:  Mid Michigan Children’s Museum 
  • 2007-Present: United Way Adopt-A-Family 
  • 2007: Inner link Runaway and Homeless Youth Shelter 
  • 2006: Boys & Girls Club



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Saginaw Valley State University

Community Outreach

SVSU students and faculty participate in key projects that improve the community and the quality of life for residents.

Saginaw Valley State University