Changemakers Institute

Institute Resources

Institute Overview
Registration Form
Promotional Flyer
Calendar & Curriculum
Mentor Application
Participant FAQ


Institute Contact

Derek Summerville
Natl. Youth Engagement Director

Institute Overview

The YMCA Changemakers Institute is a 3-month virtual summer program available to all high school students in grades 9-12, including incoming 9th grade students and graduating high school seniors (the graduating classes of 2020 to 2024).

As participants in the Changemakers Institute, students will take part in:

  • Virtual Advocacy Training
  • Networking & Professional Development
  • Mentoring Seminars with YMCA Alumni
  • Engaging Local, State, National, and International Policymakers
  • Emphasizing Equity & Inclusion in Making Change
  • Strengthening Socio-Emotional Skills
  • Developing an Online Presence, Branding, and Voice
  • Collaborative Cohorts to address Local Issues
  • Leading the Y’s Youth Advocate Network & Youth Voter Commitment

By the conclusion of the Institute, students will have completed their changemaker certification and published a virtual changemaker portfolio to include in their resumes, college applications, and academic records.

Changemaker Institute Registration Form
UPDATE: An earlier form outage has been fixed and the form is back online! Registration is open until 11:59pm PT.

Late Registration Deadline: (New) Monday, June 8th – 11:59pm PT
Institute Fee: $100

We will accept late registrations until the evening of Monday, June 8th, or until the Institute is at capacity. If we reach capacity, a waiting list will be opened for additional participants.

Need-based scholarships are available to interested participants. Please email for more information.

Welcome Packets will be sent out on the morning of Tuesday, June 9th following the conclusion of late registration. Our first Institute Seminar will take place that same afternoon, from 4:00-5:00pm ET.


Institute Programming

The Institute will take place over the course of 3 months – see our full Institute Calendar, with participants engaging on the themes, topics and issues listed above in a variety of virtual formats – each designed to offer different levels of interactivity and collaboration:

  • Institute Seminars (2 per week) – Each week of the Institute will consist of two virtual seminars for all participants with guest speakers, academics, public officials, and partner organizations
  • Cohort Meetings (1 per week) – In addition to our virtual sessions, participants will be assigned to a Changemaker Cohort, which will be organized based on which of the Y’s Areas of Focus and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals they choose as priorities on their registration form.
  • Mentor Roundtables (1 per week, 10 students each) – The smallest virtual format for participants will be their Mentor Seminars. Each seminar will consist of 10 participants and a professional mentor from the Y’s vast alumni network. We will pair students with mentors from different career/professional fields based on each participant’s selected interests during registration.
  • Personalized Consultancy –  During the second half of our institute calendar (Weeks 4-9), each participant will have the opportunity to schedule a personalized session with 2-3 staff/alumni to evaluate and strengthen their virtual presence, branding, and voice.
  • Panel Presentations – Finally, participants will present the work they completed in their Changemaker Portfolios to a panel of staff, alumni, and community members during the final two weeks of the Institute.


Alumni Mentors & Support

Each of our Mentor Seminars will be led by volunteer professionals from the Y’s alumni network. We are currently seeking alumni to join the Institute as mentors, and those interested in participating can complete the mentor application below:

Alumni Mentor Application

Mentors must be at least 21 years old, an alumni of a YMCA program or a current volunteer with the Y, and have completed a background check within the last calendar year.

Additionally, we are also seeking alumni and generous donors interested in helping create scholarships for potential participants. If you would like to help sponsor scholarships for the Institute, please email