Young Women Leader


Join our Young Leader Empowerment Series online modules. The amazing thing about this online component as well is that you can work through these modules with other people in your life. Gather friends, family and neighbors and explore these important topics in a fun, exciting, new, hands-on learning kind of way!

Apply to be Mentee

Apply to be a mentee Please submit completed applications to Dr. Rittenhouse, guidance counselor at Athens Middle School.

"Being a YWLP mentor has been a transformative experience in my college career. It taught me how to be an impactful leader and become a positive role model. I've made incredible friendships with my fellow mentors and have had the amazing guidance from faculty of this program. YWLP is one of the strongest groups at Ohio University, and I highly recommend it." ~ Ami Scherson.

The Young Women Leaders Program builds competence, autonomy and connection. A collaboration between the OHIO University's Women's Center and Athens Middle School, the Young Women's Leader Program (YWLP) is an innovative mentoring program designed to empower middle school girls and college women to be leaders and to make positive choices based on their interactions as mentors and peers.

In 2017, the Women's Center partnered with the Rural and Urban Scholars Pathways (RUSP) Program within the Office of Rural and Underserved Programs at the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine on a project in which the mentees use photography to document how they relate to topics discussed in the YWLP program. Through the photos and structured discussion, the mentees help to inform the mentors about their experiences, and directly influence the curriculum for the following year.

Would you like to be a mentee?

Looking for an opportunity for your 7th or 8th grade Young Woman Leader to build confidence? Applications for the 7th and 8th grade participants at Athens Middle School in the program are available at the start of every academic year. Either visit your guidance counselor or download them here and submit them to your guidance counselor or the Women's Center to apply: Questions? Call us at 740-593-9625. We currently serve students only at Athens Middle School.

Would you like to be a mentor? Enroll in PCOE 2301C


Mentors are recruited through students in the Fall course "PCOE 2301C": Building Leadership in Adolescent Girls Through Mentorship. This course is offered every Fall, Mondays & Wednesdays 3:05 - 5:05PM. This course is only offered in tandem with a service learning opportunity.

Youth mentoring programs have proliferated in recent years. This course identifies why mentoring programs have become popular tools to promote self-esteem amongst adolescents, as well as what effective mentoring looks like. In this service learning course, students will have the opportunity to be paired with local area middle school 7th and 8th graders and Ohio University's Women's Center to conduct the Young Women's Leaders Program. 

Service Learning Component

  • This program has a gendered focus in looking at the experiences of women, but is open to anyone who believes they would benefit from a program with that lens. In addition to information on mentoring generally, this course takes a gendered approach to understanding the particular challenges that adolescent girls face both within and outside of school. This is a designated service learning course.
  • If students would like to be considered as a mentor, they are required to complete both a BCI and FBI background check. The fee for this totals $62 and should be paid for by the student.
  • Additionally, the service learning requires that students continue mentoring at the middle school through the spring term on Wednesdays (3:05-5:05), though they will no longer be enrolled in the course.
  • For those unable to commit to a year long service learning opportunity, there is an alternate service learning option that will enable students to create workshops that may be used with parents of those in the Young Women Leaders Program.

History of the Program

Co-founded in 1997 by Edith "Winx" Lawrence, Ph.D. and Kimberley Roberts, Ph.D., and sponsored by the University of Virginia Women's Center and Curry School of Education, the Young Women Leaders Program (YWLP) is an innovative mentoring program that is designed to empower middle school girls and college women to be leaders of themselves and in their families, schools, and communities. Ohio University participates as a sister-site.