The La Raza Youth Leadership Institute (LRYLI) is comprised of the La Raza Youth Leadership Conference and the La Raza Youth Leadership Program. The Institute’s annual conference exposes Colorado’s Chicax/Latinx youth to the endless opportunities in their future by promoting the importance of higher education, career planning, self-esteem building, cultural identity and developing leadership skills. Students are also exposed to a college campus environment, to Chicanx/Latinx professionals, and community leaders. The conference includes three workshop sessions, a keynote address, a youth keynote address, an education/resource fair and lunchtime entertainment. The LRYLI conference is unique because we cater to 12 – 18-year-old Colorado Chicanxs/Latinxs by offering culturally sensitive programming to enhance their social, educational, and personal growth.

The conference began in 1991 as a male youth conference. Today, the conference welcomes both female and male participants. It has grown steadily over the years recruiting youth from throughout Colorado. The conference will be held at the Auraria Higher Education Center, a tri-institutional campus located in downtown Denver. The conference regularly attracts approximately 1,200 student participants, 150 school liaisons, 175 volunteers, and 45 workshops.

*Chicanx/Latinx is an inclusive term

La Raza Youth Leadership Program

La Raza Youth Leadership Program will provide Chicanx/Latinx* high school students, grades 9 -12, an opportunity to achieve their full leadership potential by participating in an intensive leadership program. The mission of La Raza Youth Leadership Program is to empower Chicanx/Latinx* youth to achieve their educational and leadership potential and instill the desire to give back to the Latino Community.

La Raza Youth Leadership Program believes in social justice, quality education, human rights, environmental justice worldwide, and the advancement of the Latino community. The Program welcomes and encourages differing philosophical views to promote the learning experience.


  • Providing in-depth training on leadership for Chicanx/Latinx high school students
  •  Providing information and insight into current issues facing the Chicanx/Latinx community.
  •  Introducing the Program participants to current Chicanx/Latinx Leaders.
  •  Promoting and facilitating access to higher education.
  •  Creating a forum for a higher education mentor program for high school seniors
  •  Examining and developing a historical understanding of Chicanx/Latinx cultural life and struggles in the United States
  •  Introducing participants to a variety of leadership theories, styles, and techniques

Thirty-five participants will be selected through a competitive process. Participants will attend 10 leadership workshops sessions, held Saturdays beginning in January and ending in May. A light breakfast, lunch, and snacks will be provided for each session. Recruitment will be open from October until early December. Youth participants are selected in mid-December and the session starts early January. For more information contact Jenny Santos via email at or via telephone at 303.953.5941.

Previous Program Workshops

  • Immigration
  • Chicano History
  • Environmental Justice
  • Danza Azteca
  • Higher Education
  • Cultura – Art & Poetry
  • Institutional Racism
  • Politics – Civic Engagement
  • Team Building / Leadership
  • Know Your Rights

In the 1980’s the Center of Diseases Control identified that mentoring has the most potential, for reducing youth violence and addressed various risk factors. The La Raza Youth Leadership Program provides a nontraditional mentoring program and establishes a supportive system for youth participants. Moreover, the La Raza Youth Leadership Institute allows youth from the state of CO in middle school and High School, the opportunity to participate in a bi-annual La Raza Youth Leadership Conference. These are mitigating factors to counter barriers in disenfranchised communities. The La Raza Youth Leadership Institute creates fun and safe environments to reduce youth violence and a path of self-identity and self-healing. The mission of the La Raza youth Leadership Institute’s is to empower Chicano/Latino youth to achieve their educational and leadership potential and instill the desire to give back to the Chicano/Latino community.