YALD is a sports-based youth development non-profit committed to providing underserved young people with the skills and confidence they need to achieve their dreams and become a positive force for change in their communities.
At YALD we believe that physical activity is key to the health and development of our youth, contributing to their physical, social, and emotional well-being. Using team sports as an entry point for holistic youth development, YALD engages young people ages eight to 17 in a range of activities including life skills development, nutrition education, academic support, and community service. Our vision is to provide young people from underserved communities with the resources and mentorship they need to succeed in school and on the field, and to become healthy, well-rounded individuals who can effect positive change for their communities.
YALD (Young Adult Leadership Development) is a sports-based non-profit committed to providing underserved young people with the skills and confidence they need to achieve their dreams and become a positive force for change in their communities. Founded as a start-up flag football league by Washington Heights native Carlos Castellanos in 2011, YALD has grown into a holistic youth development program that seeks to provide mentorship, supplementary education, and encouragement to help youth succeed in all aspects of their lives.
Using sports as an entry point to reach young people, YALD engages participants in a range of life skills topics, including leadership, fitness, health, community, and career readiness. Participants not only learn the fundamentals of sports but also receive guidance on health and nutrition, emotional well-being, healthy relationships, responsible decision-making, and respectful behavior. Additionally, they receive mentorship to support their academic achievement and to help them balance sports with school.
YALD's philosophy is rooted in the belief that all young people have the ability to effect positive change in their own communities. To instill this value, all youth participants take part in community service projects. This experience not only teaches the importance of giving back but also empowers each young person to recognize their unique abilities and contributions to making the world a better place.
Since 2011, YALD has served over 300 underserved young people throughout New York City through its sports and youth development programming, and the number of participants continues to grow each year. The organization takes pride in its high retention rates, with over 90% of YALD participants remaining engaged in the program for two or more years. Furthermore, more than 90% of YALD alumni go on to pursue continuing education after high school, demonstrating the long-term impact of YALD's support.
Over the years, YALD has gained recognition in the community for its work with underserved youth. The organization has been fortunate to receive sponsorship from prominent entities such as Macy's, Just Energy Foundation, State Farm, Presbyterian Hospital, Ice-Air, Tread's Bike Shop, Image Circle, Ideal Development, and other local businesses. Notably, NFL star Tony Richardson has shown his support by participating as a special guest at YALD events.
YALD operates as a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, ensuring its commitment to transparency and accountability in carrying out its mission.
The YFFL (Youth Flag Football League) is a comprehensive and dynamic program designed for young people aged 11 to 17. Through flag football, the league aims to promote both physical and personal development. During the summer, participants engage in twice-weekly training camps and three practice games. In the fall, they take part in preseason practices, mentoring sessions, and multiple matches on Saturdays during the regular season. The league places a strong emphasis on promoting positive attitudes and behaviors, exemplified by programs like Manhood 2.0, which challenges harmful gender norms. Additionally, the YFFL supports healthy habits by providing nutritious snacks and facilitating health education in partnership with CHALK (Choosing a Healthy Active Lifestyle for Kids). The league encourages youth to develop leadership and life skills through hands-on projects and values parent involvement. With a commitment to increasing access to healthy lifestyles for children and families, the YFFL offers a well-rounded experience for young people.