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.


Ti’Andre Bellinger, 18

Board of Directors (2014-2016)
Hometown: Miami, FL
Miami Jackson High School (2015)
Alliance Connection: After School All-Stars
Born and raised in Miami, Florida, Ti’Andre has been an example for years of how to serve the community. While fulfilling the roles of full-time student in Miami, FL at Miami Jackson Senior High School, Ti’Andre also serves on the Miami-Dade County Youth Commission as a Youth Commissioner. While interning at the Miami-Dade County Commissioner’s Office of Com. Barbara Jordan, Ti’Andre flew to DC to represent After-School All-Stars at the National Summer Learning Day as a guest speaker and met Michelle Obama. He was involved in various high school programs, including serving as the Lieutenant for the City of Miami Police Explorers, Sergeant First Class in JROTC, and won Student of the Year for the City of Miami. Recently, Ti’Andre received the George Kil-Patrick Community Service Award given out in Miami, FL. Ti’Andre is a recent high school graduate and aspires to become a police officer, a prosecutor, or President of the United States. Ti’Andre strongly believes that “Our Voices Matter.” 


Zartashia Javid, 20

Alliance Trustees (2015-2017)
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.

Ola Ojewumi, 24

Alliance Trustees (2014-2016)
Twitter: @OlaOjewumi
Hometown: Washington, DC
High Point High School (2008); University of Maryland, College Park (2012)
Alliance Connection: Building a GradNation Summit
Ola Ojewumi is an activist, journalist, and a community organizer based in Washington, DC. She has founded two nonprofits: Sacred Hearts Children’s Transplant Foundation and the Project ASCEND College Scholarship Program, projects which she initiated after receiving a heart and kidney transplant. Thus far, the White House, MTV, Glamour magazine, Intel, Clinton Global Initiative, Essence magazine and the Huffington Post have praised her initiatives. Additionally, Glamour Magazine has named Ola among the top 10 most influential college women in the United States. Ola holds a strong passion for writing and speaking. The White House, Marie Claire Magazine’s online publication, and the American Association of University Women have published her writings. She has held internships in the White House, the office of Democratic Leader/Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic National Committee (DNC/Democratic Party) headquarters, and Congressmen Albert R. Wynn’s Congressional Office. Additionally, she has served as Public Policy and International Affairs Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley and a DNC Hope Fellow. She has also served on the White House African American Kitchen Cabinet on Disability and as an executive board member on President Barack Obama's Maryland chapter of Organizing for America. 


Stephanie Watkins-Cruz, 21

Board of Directors (2015-2017)
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.