Meet Leslie Padilla -- October eNews
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YLI Is My Story
Leslie Padilla Tells Her First-Hand Experience
with Debt Traps

I’m excited to see positive change and happy families.

I look forward to continue to learn about unfair issues in our community.

I find my power when I inform other youth and families about these issues.

I’m excited to reach equality and encourage other youth to be more involved in their communities.

Thanks to YLI, I am more aware of issues that affect my family, my community, and me.

- Leslie Padilla

My name is Leslie Padilla, and I am a high school senior living in San Mateo. I’m Mexican American, the only daughter to my parents, an older sibling to my brother, and I will be the first in my family to go to college. I am motivated by a desire to make my parents proud, and carve a new path of success for my family by attending college. I became aware of YLI when they visited my college preparatory class, AVID. As a Latina, I felt that I needed to take a stand and serve my community.
I understand harm that some industries cause to our communities. For my quinceañera (a 15th birthday celebration for girls), my mom felt pressured to take out a short loan from a payday lender to help ease some of the costs for the party. My mom had a difficult time paying back the loan, and ended up paying a lot more then her original loan.
Payday lenders operate in marginalized communities, offering small cash loans with interest rates that can be as high as 459% annually. I want to see positive change in my community; I want to limit the negative impact of payday lenders. My commitment to YLI is a huge step to making change.
Through YLI, I participate in Youth Organizing San Mateo County (YO! Mateo). YO! Mateo advocates for policies that increase health in communities of color. Through YO! Mateo, I help lead many campaigns. The financial justice campaign limits payday lending in communities through policy advocacy. The food justice campaign organizes, empowers and mobilizes youth to improve their communities to address health disparities through access to nutritious foods. The countywide youth tobacco prevention coalition works to pass policies that ban smoking in multi unit housing.
I’m glad that YLI is helping me by building my leadership skills so I am able to help make positive changes that will affect community members.   
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YLI In Our Communities
Youth Attend Traffic Safety Summit

At the beginning of the month, 8 youth from our Central Valley office joined 700 high schoolers in a convening in Anaheim, California to propose solutions for the #1 killer of teens in America: car crashes. Youth developed plans to bring back to their communities in California for a school year full of policy, systems, and environment change to reduce car crashes amongst teens!

Janet Salcedo, our YLI Youth Board Member, headed up the conference steering committee  Youth Board Member.
Training & Consulting Services in Merced

Over the summer and fall, YLI trainers have partnered with Merced County Public Health Department to provide a series of trainings to Partnerships to Include Community Health (PICH) grantees, leaders, and youth. With support from YLI, PICH is engaging youth to educate key community leaders to stimulate change in the areas that most impact them. Issue areas include reducing the amount of tobacco retailers near schools, increasing opportunities for physical activity, and eliminating second-hand smoke where they live.
A participant in Merced's training
B.L.I.N.G. Announces Fall $5K Youth Grants Cycle

B.L.I.N.G., a youth-led philanthropy program in San Francisco, has funded 33 social justice projects since its inception in 2013. These projects represent over $120,000 in social investments by and for youth! Youth have the opportunity to identify an issue of inequity in their community, and then propose a $5,000 project to address that social issue. Youth have developed projects related to access to healthy food, gentrification, police brutality, the need for healthy physical activities, and more.

Do you know a young person in San Francisco with a great idea? Find out here how they can apply for $5K. Information sessions will be held throughout October, and the application is due December 4!

Youth for Academic Success, a 2014-2015 grantee
Just Click for our Community Partners to Win $500,000
Have you voted for the Google Impact Awards? Our community partners The Big Lift Initiative, The Essie Justice Group, and The Reset Foundation are competing for $500,000 to solve pressing social issues in their communities. Vote for up to four projects by October 20!

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