Youth Leadership

America’s Promise Alliance promotes youth engagement as part of our GradNation campaign by encouraging and supporting our networks and partners to involve young people in community change, and sharing local stories of youth-led action with a national audience to build broader support. America's Promise models youth involvement by having two youth leaders on both our Board of Directors and Alliance Trustees. Each youth is a full voting member of the leadership body and plays a valuable role in the strategic direction of the organization. Learn more about youth leadership opportunities with America’s Promise.

Zartashia Javid, 20

Alliance Trustees (2015-2017)Zartashia Javid Photo
Hometown: Little Rock, AR
Arkansas School of Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts (2012);
University of Arkansas at Little Rock (anticipated 2016)
Alliance Connection: AVID

For many years, Zartashia has had a passion for education policy and reform.  She is from Little Rock, Arkansas and works directly with students in the urban district where she lives as an AVID tutor. She has personally helped students graduate high school who were once far behind in their courses. Zartashia served as an AMERCORPS VISTA during Summer 2014 working as a STEM programmer for homeless youth in Little Rock. Furthermore, she holds various leadership positions at her school, including student government. She has also received a research grant from NASA through the Arkansas Space Grant Consortium to study effective STEM education methods. In addition, she likes to spend her time competing for her universities Model Arab League team. She has won several awards competing and writing legislation for social issues such as education. Zartashia is now a senior at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and hopes to continue working in the education sector.


Malcolm Davis, 17  

Board of Director (2016 - 2018)Malcolm Davis Headshot
Hometown: Berea, KY
Berea Community High School 
Alliance Connection: Building a GradNation Summit in Washington, DC

Malcolm is a 17-yr-old rising senior at Berea Community High School in Berea, KY. As a high school freshman, he served as a youth leader at the APA Building a GradNation Summit in Washington, DC. He is currently a trainer for Green Dot, which helps to combat personal violence in schools and communities, as well as a member of Youth Leadership Madison County and the College Board Youth Advisory Council. Malcolm looks forward to pursuing a degree in Africana studies and creative writing upon enrolling in an undergraduate program. He has a heart for justice and often uses poetry as a vehicle for articulating his experience in the world.


Julie Pham, 20  

Board of Director (2016 - 2018)Julie Pham Headshot
Hometown: Rochester, NY
Brown University
Alliance Connection: Fellow at Future Global Leaders Foundation Fellow  

Julie is a Gates Millenium Scholar, a Questbridge Finalist, and a proud low-income first generation college student majoring in Political Science and Urban Studies at Brown University. She is an advocate who helps low-income students expand their horizons and develop a love of learning, self-esteem, and confidence. Her drive for social justice in alleviating inequities in education have led her to work with Horizons National providing programs to reduce the loss of academic skills and knowledge during the summer months.  Previously, she has worked for the Warner School of Education as a Teacher's Assistant in their Horizons Program. This past summer, she was an Urban Fellow at the Horizons Program at the Harley School. There, she developed curriculum on how to identify and provide support to children who have been exposed to trauma. She also taught classes on race, discrimination, social justice, and advocacy to inform students of color of their collective power. Back at Brown University, she is a Minority Recruitment Intern in the Office of Admissions. She supports and mentor low-income high school students from around the country navigating the college application process. 


Stephanie Watkins-Cruz, 21

Board of Directors (2015-2017)Stephanie Watkins Cruz Headshot
Hometown: Charlotte, NC
Northwest School of the Arts (2011); University of North Carolina at Asheville (2015)
Alliance Connection: Asheville, NC GradNation Community Summit

A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, Stephanie Watkins-Cruz has spent the past few years dedicating her time and energy to community service. In college, she was an active member and leader in organizations such as the Black Student Association, an organization highly active and dedicated to service and social justice as well as She’s the First, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising money for girls’ education in low income countries. She also served as a tutor at the I Have a Dream/Urban Mentoring Academy of Asheville for youth in low-income areas. Academically, her interest in public service was cultivated through research projects such as the State of Black Asheville, Homelessness in the United States, and a course on social welfare. Her several leadership roles mixed with her passion that stems from personal experience with hardship is what inspires her path as a public servant. She recently graduated with distinction from UNC Asheville in May 2015, and was awarded the William & Ida Friday Public Service Award and the Gene Rainey Community Service award, among several others honors and commendations. She will begin her 1st year of graduate school in the Masters of Public Administration program at UNC Chapel Hill this fall.


Sanah Jivani, 18

Alliance Trustees (2016 - 2018) Sanah Jivani Headshot
Hometown: Spring, Texas
University of Texas at San Antonio
Alliance Connection: State Farm Youth Advisory Board

Sanah Jivani is an honors college student double majoring in sociology and communications at the University of Texas at San Antonio and is an active public speaker and writer.   She is the founder of a non-profit organization called The Love Your Natural Self Foundation, which focuses on empowering individuals all around the world. She started this organization after losing all of her hair to Alopecia in the seventh grade. She struggled with wigs, bullying, self-harm and self hate for years. Now, her non-profit organization hosts projects in 28 countries. She has reached over 10,000 students through speaking engagements and raised over $10,000 in fundraising. Sanah provides free resources and self-esteem curriculum for schools worldwide. In summer of 2016, Sanah was selected as one of five students for the FirstGEN fellowship in Washington, D.C., working for the Educational Opportunities Project at the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. She is also one of thirty We Are Family Foundation's Global Teen Leaders, a TEDx Speaker, Natural High's 2015 Youth of the Year, a State Farm Youth Advisory Board member, and a Pearson Student Advisor. She hopes that this hard work and positive energy will someday change the world!