Youth Climate Leaders Peer Education Program

The Youth Climate Leaders Peer Education Program began in early 2020 when several community members came together from the KNC, Kalamazoo Climate Crisis Coalition, Schools for Climate Action, and Great Lakes PeaceJam. They saw a need in our community for informing young folks about climate change, knowing that the climate crisis will deeply affect their generation and those to come more greatly than adult generations today. It is integral that we support high school age youth as they embark on becoming the next leaders of our nations and to give teens the tools to advocate for a resilient future and to share accurate information with their peers and community.  

Our YCL peer education program utilizes a non-partisan approach that presents science-based facts and encourages critical thinking. YCL Peer Educators learn to define and verbalize their own values, provide hope and pathways to change, and gain the ability to advocate for their own futures.  

Youth Climate Leaders

Our two-part program begins with a mandatory comprehensive 40-hour Leadership training week that combines climate change education directly from professionals in our community and facilitated leadership team building. The curriculum covers local and global topics on: 

Youth Climate Leaders

Climate Change Impacts  

  • People, culture, and communities 
  • Environment and Ecosystem health 

Climate Justice, Politics, Resilience  

  • Food, land, and water rights 
  • Local environmental justice 
  • History, policy, and institutional change  

Climate Leadership and Activism 

  • How to influence by connecting and communicating with peers 
  • Personal story sharing, and making space for the stories of others  

After they complete their training, YCL Peer Educators will be empowered to develop a plan to share this knowledge with others in area schools and community organizations. They will meet weekly to collaborate, discuss, and plan future presentations and projects. They will also be offered new learning opportunities from professional speakers and additional resources.  

YCL Peer Educators will lead and support their peers to seek out additional advocacy resources and extracurricular learning opportunities, to organize other student led initiatives, and to connect with mentors and teachers to advocate for climate focused change in their schools and communities.   


If you are an educator, community member, advocate, etc. and are interested in teaching, mentoring or supporting our young folks during our leadership week or meetings throughout the academic year please reach out to the program coordinator at 269.459.8500 or email at  


Youth Climate LeadersWant to be a Youth Climate Leader Peer Educator?

Who we are looking for: 

We are looking for youth that are interested in building their knowledge and skills for leadership in climate change advocacy. We are excited to support youth who want to increase their ability to teach and speak to their peers about environmental issues that are impacting their community and their world. These might be young people who have not previously had background knowledge of climate change but have an eagerness to learn about changing the way our societal structures address the human connection to our environment. We are looking to engage young folks from all walks of life who want to influence their peers in positive ways make changes for our collective futures surrounding climate change. 

Benefits of being a YCL Peer Educator:

  • Join a community of youth interested in learning about climate change 
  • Earn a stipend based on hours invested in meeting attendance and peer education 
  • Gain public speaking, empathy and listening skills 
  • Looks great on job and college applications 
  • Gain professional development, leadership and time management skills 
  • Groundwork training in topics related to climate change/action 
  • Network with city, county, state, and national organizations and potential future employers 

It takes commitment, are you ready?
Being a Youth Climate Leader means:

  • A willingness to dedicate time spent outside of meeting times to further your peer education goals with the team  
  • Showing up with a commitment to the program, willingness to learn, to share your own voice, and an openness to ideas and value perspectives other than your own 
  • demonstrate healthy decision-making skills and behaviors while serving as a positive role model for your peers 
  • Time management is very important, as a Youth Climate Leader it is expected that your commitments, tasks/duties, and meetings for this program are made a priority – please make sure you are able to dedicate the time.  
  • An eagerness to learn about climate change, no background knowledge required! 

Please reach out to the program coordinator, Amber Hejl, at 269-459-8500 or email at   if you have any questions.

Applications are being accepted now through May 21 for the 2023-24 school year.