Young Leaders Institute

Leadership Development, Career Pathways, Community Exploration
Young Leaders Institute (YLI) offers high school sophomores an opportunity to grow as leaders, learn about career pathways, and explore their community. The program empowers students to have two-way conversations with business and community leaders about issues that matter to them.

Students will take a leadership assessment and be empowered to develop as a leader through “The Student Leadership Challenge” materials by Kouzes and Posner.

Program days consist of leadership development sessions, career discussions, speakers, and tours of Richland County’s most interesting places. A capstone project will empower students to propose a solution to a community problem while improving their skills in team building and communication.

Students expand their own values, philosophies, and beliefs while learning alongside classmates from different schools as well as ethnic, economic, and social backgrounds.

Who should apply?
Sophomores enrolled in any Richland County school or homeschool during the 2023-2024 school year who want to grow as leaders, explore career pathways, and become engaged in their community.

To provide Richland County high school sophomores with training that will cultivate leadership development, inform career decisions, and foster civic engagement.

What to expect

  • Learn and apply the Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership: Model the Way, Inspire a Shared Vision, Challenge the Process and Enable Others to Act
  • Explore a wide variety of career paths and industries.
  • Broaden your understanding of issues and opportunities in Richland County while learning how they can be involved.
  • Experience your community through fun, interactive sessions at various locations throughout Richland County.
  • Establish a network of friends among a diverse group of students throughout Richland County.
  • Develop a personal commitment to become involved with projects and organizations in your community.

What will I experience on a typical day?
A Young Leaders Institute program day is designed to incorporate many different learning styles with discussions, experiential activities, panels, and business tours. Here is an agenda for a typical day:
9 a.m. – Arrive at starting location
9:15 a.m. – Leadership discussion and experiential activity
11 a.m. – Lunch
11:30 a.m. – Travel by bus to an organization for a tour
1 p.m. – Travel back to starting location
1:30 p.m. – Program concludes

When do the program days happen?

First Thursdays, October through March from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

October 5, 2023
Starting and Ending Location: Mid-Ohio Educational Service Center
Orientation with experiential leadership activities, setting expectations, and introducing the curriculum and capstone project. 

November 2, 2023
Starting and Ending Location: Buckeye Imagination Museum
Leadership Module: Model the Way.
Community Focus: What leisure experiences exist for teens in Richland County? How does tourism impact our county?

December 7, 2023
Starting and Ending Location: Mid-Ohio Educational Service Center
Leadership Module: Inspire a Shared Vision.
Community Focus: How do decisions by local elected officials impact young people? How to run for office as a young adult.

January 4, 2024
Starting and Ending Location: Mid-Ohio Educational Service Center
Leadership Module: Challenge the Process.
Community Focus: How do Richland County’s economic development initiatives impact young people and how can they get involved?

February 1, 2024
Starting and Ending Location: Mid-Ohio Educational Service Center
Leadership Module: Enable Others to Act.
Community Focus: What health and wellness options exist for young people? What are my options for healthcare careers?

March 7, 2024
Starting and Ending Location: Mansfield-Richland County Public Library – Main Branch
Leadership Module: Encourage the Heart.
Community Focus: What will it be like to live and work in Richland County in 2030?


Angie Cirone, MA
Director, Mansfield-Richland Area Educational Foundation

Angie Cirone serves as the Mansfield-Richland Area Educational Foundation Director. She facilitates programs to meet the needs of our growing region. She enjoys building relationships with leaders and forming partnerships with organizations. 

Before joining the Chamber, Angie worked in revenue-generating leadership roles at Richland Source and Source Brand Solutions. She also worked for Ashland Theological Seminary, Cleveland State University and John Carroll University in fundraising, sales, and programming roles. 

Originally from the Cleveland area, Angie moved to north central Ohio in 2014. She serves on the board of directors for the Mansfield Reformatory Preservation Society and United Way of Ashland County.  

Class of 2024 Application Information


A maximum of 35 participants will be selected annually from any Richland County school or homeschool.


Candidates selected for the program will possess a sincere commitment, motivation, and interest to develop leadership skills and serve the Richland County community during their high school years.
A selection committee will review all completed applications and select those applicants who have demonstrated commitment, leadership ability, and a desire to serve their community.


This program is free for students. Richland County Youth and Family Council and corporate sponsors fund the program.


Young Leaders Institute requires that a student have the full support of the school district he or she represents. To graduate from Leadership Unlimited, a participant must attend all but one program day.

Apply Today

Applications for the class of 2023-2024 due by Friday, September 8, 2023. Applications will be notified of an admissions decision by Friday, September 29, 2023.