Youth Leaders

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.

Gabriel “Gabe” Abdellatif
Gabriel “Gabe” Abdellatif, 19
  • Gabe AbdellatifAlliance Trustees (2018 - 2020)
  • Hometown: Portland, Oregon
  • Sophomore, Pomona College
  • Alliance Connections: Gateway to College National Network

Gabe, 19, is a second-year student at Pomona College majoring politics. He is a contributor for the Huffington Post and has been active in our inaugural Promise Voices group after being a finalist in our youth leadership search last year. In high school, Gabe served as a voting member of the Multnomah Youth Commission, Portland’s official youth policy body, working with the commission's the Education/Youth Voice committee to decrease rates of chronic absenteeism in Portland’s high schools. In his senior year, he interned at Gateway to College National Network’s headquarters in Portland. At Pomona, Gabe has served as a panelist on the judicial board and mentor in Pomona’s Academy for Youth Success (PAYS) program. Currently, he interns in the admissions office, sits on the school's campus diversity and climate committee and is the treasurer of Pomona College Mock Trial. Gabe is passionate about improving education to alleviate racial and socio-economic inequities. 

Alexis Creamer
Alexis Creamer, 21
  • Alexis CreamerAlliance Trustees (2017 - 2019)
  • Missouri State University

Alexis Creamer, 21, is a student at Missouri State University majoring in Marketing and Technical Writing. She is a co-founder of the non-profit organization FLY Girls, a youth development program dedicated to unveiling a place where young girls are confident in their identity and the power they hold through artistic expression. She is also a leader at the Wyman Teen Leadership Program, where she guides teens through a college and community emerging leadership program by promoting positive leadership skills and developing program activities. Creamer attributes much of her success to the program and mentors she had there and is passionate about the ways non-profits can change the lives of young people.

Isaac Espinal
Isaac Espinal
  • Board of Director (2018 - 2020)Isaac
  • Hometown: Fort Worth, Texas
  • Senior, Trinity Valley High School,
  • Alliance Connections: Catholic Charities 

Isaac Espinal is a senior at Trinity Valley High School. He enjoys travel and engaging with new people. He hopes to bring his international relations background to the role with APA. Isaac has interned with the Fort Worth affiliate of Catholic Charities. In this role he assists immigrant families in connecting to services as a translator. He is helps run a local college access and mentoring program, Fort Worth Hacemos. Isaac also has very diverse interests, he plays in youth orchestra, is very active in the Dallas-Fort Worth Hispanic/Latino community, and likes to swim and dance salsa.

Kiara “Kiki” Gilbert
Kiara “Kiki” Gilbert, 18
  • Kiara "Kiki" GilbertAlliance Trustees (2017 - 2019)
  • Princeton University

Kiara “Kiki” Gilbert, 18, is an incoming freshman at Princeton University majoring in Philosophy and African-American Studies. She is a first-generation college student who experienced homelessness throughout high school. Gilbert has implemented numerous programs in her school. Through her work with the Communities in Schools staff, Gilbert has organized hunger drives, educational panels, and mentoring programs. She is a Ron Brown Scholar, and has served as a role model and leader for numerous youth in her community. She is the recipient of the KPMG Future Leaders Program Scholarship, and plans to continue her commitment to social justice and racial equality in her upcoming years at Princeton.

William “Will” Powers
William “Will” Powers, 17
  • Will PowersAlliance Trustees (2018 - 2020)
  • Hometown: Somerset, Kentucky
  • Senior, Somerset High School
  • Alliance Connections: National 4H

William Powers is a 17-year-old from Somerset high school. He is the co-author of “Ready or Not,” a book focused on the inequity within schools. He is currently on the Pritchard Committee advocating for education issues across the state of Kentucky and is in the process of starting a program called “EDquity Fellows”. The fellowship will help support other young people in learning to advocate for their issues, the issues of their peers, and ensure that youth voice is included in conversations around equity at his school.

Michael Shafer
Michael Shafer, 19
  • Michael ShaferBoard of Director (2018 - 2020)
  • Hometown: Athena, Oregon
  • Junior, Harvard University
  • Alliance Connections: National 4-H

Michael Shafer is self-described cowboy and 19-year-old student from Harvard University. He grew up in a rural community where there was food disparity and poor educational outcomes, both of which he witnessed at his own school. While in high school, he served as a state ambassador for the National 4H Council and won $35,000 in grant funding to bring technology to his local high school. In his time at Harvard, he has presented to members of the legislator on how devastating hunger can be in the life of a child and how it affects their performance at school. Michael’s goal in life is to help people. At a young age he was diagnosed with ADD and ADHD, so he understands the importance of meeting young people where there, especially as it pertains to learning style.

    Elizabeth Zalanga
    Elizabeth Zalanga, 21
    • Elizabeth ZalangaBoard of Director (2017 - 2019)
    • Saint Paul Community and Technical College

    Elizabeth Zalanga, 21, attends Saint Paul Community and Technical College in St. Paul, Minnesota, where she plans to graduate with a degree an Associate in Arts Degree with an emphasis in social science and public affairs. The daughter of Nigerian immigrants, Zalanga is working to empower and elevate the voices of young women and under-represented youth through her award-winning work on Minnesota Public Radio. She serves on the board of directors at Youthprise, is a representative on the Saint Paul/Ramsey County Board of Commissioners, and is a Youth Advisory Board Member for the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women.