2014 Projects
Fortitude Young Leaders Institute
Erika Forland - New School for Public Engagement, Creative Writing (Graduate)

Fortitude Young Leaders Institute (FYLI) is an initiative based in Charlotte, North Carolina dedicated to at-risk youth ages 11-22 who have raw talent and passion in the arts, academics, entrepreneurship, athletics and other diverse fields. FYLI will leverage its connections, services and financial support within the community to mentor, train and develop youth to become innovative, talented and accomplished leaders who will transform their transitioning communities.

“Where there is no vision, the people perish”, reflects Fortitude Young Leaders Institute’s commitment to developing “vision” in transitional communities of Charlotte. Fortitude utilizes the unique resources, personnel and institutions that exist in each pilot community to garner political, business and community buy-in to leverage investments and services that will develop at-risk youth ages 11-22 who display unique raw talent into impactful Young Leaders. FYLI stewards existing talent pools to bring social and economic empowerment, without gentrifying entire communities, by providing a bottom-up approach to community development.

A rigorous, long-term, four-tiered program provides Young Leaders with the mentorship, training, experiences and resources to encourage “Talent, Leadership, Stewardship, and Community Development” and propels them into colleges or careers and out of poverty; putting them into positions to “pay-it-forward” and build cycles of change, prosperity and dream-making in their own communities.


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