Youth Lead Organizers (YLOs)

Every school year, 1-3 Youth Lead Organizers (YLOs) represent each high school in Portland (Deering, Portland, and Casco Bay High Schools). YLOs meet weekly to plan larger district-wide meetings and to learn and practice organizing and facilitation skills. YLOs facilitate activities for the larger YEP meetings and work with their respective high schools to support campaigns and recruitment of other students.

If you are interested in getting involved as a Lead Organizer next school year, know that we prioritize youth who are part of our Youth Engagement Partners before applying. If you are interested in getting involved, fill out the YEPs application or the form on our Contact Us page.

blaise vilakazi, youth lead organizer at portland empowered

Blaise Vilakazi

I want to have an impact on school policy and decisions that will be more inclusive. I enjoy sports, spending time with friends and making a difference in my community. I have a passion for helping others as well as learning about Black History.

Eliezer Mambueni, Youth Lead Organizer at Portland Empowered

Eliezer Mambueni

I joined YEP because it helps me be busy with the time that I don’t do or have anything, this me more opportunity express myself and learn a lot of things with new people, knowing if they there are from different places as you are. My education in the future is that I want to do what I love but not be judged or forcing by people because I will surfer for it so i can be what I wanted to be when I young. I just turn 15 a few month ago, and I excited to get my drive’s permit. I go to Portland Hight School and I have many siblings, I play sports and I can do many things that people don’t do.

Faysal Hagi, youth lead organizer at portland empowered

Faysal Hagi

I am a sophomore at Deering High School. I became a member of YEPs because I wanted to become a better leader for my community. I’ve had trouble being open and upfront in the past. I wasn’t really open back then and I always wanted to be the person and especially, the leader I knew I could be. All my life, I’ve tried to be the best version of myself and become a leader in my community. YEPs provided me the opportunity to take my leadership skills to the next level and understand what it takes to be a true leader. My hope for education in the future is that no matter your race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender identity, you can receive the opportunities to succeed in whatever you pursue in life. For me, I like to go out and hang out with friends, play soccer, watch movies, and try new things that I’ve never tried before. In life, you got to live life to the fullest because you only get on chance in life, the question is how do you want to live it?

josiah king, youth lead organizer at portland empowered

Josiah King

hello, my name is josiah king and i go to deering high school. the main reason that i joined yeps was to gain leadership skills and meet new people. My hoops for my education in the future is to keep learning and expand my knowledge. my biggest hobbies and skills are definitely playing basketball.

Martin Kalala, Youth Lead Organizer at Portland Empowered

Martin Kalala

I joined YEP because I wanted to get money and to be part of this group where my ideas can be heard. My guidance counselor told me about this program and the opportunity that I could have joining it. My hopes for education in the future is to love what I’m learning, not because someone is forcing me to do it but because I love it. That is almost the summarize about why joined the YEP. I’m a person who like to play soccer, hang out with my friends and always like to have new experiences.

Mohamed Abdalla, youth lead organizer at Portland Empowered

Mohamed Abdalla

I’m a sophomore at deering high school. I like to play sports and hang with friends. I’m an exciting person. I was told about youth engagement partners by my principal Dr. Ahmed. I decided to join because I like creating change around my community, working with other students and leaders. Yeps has taught me become a better leader, gain confidence, and helped me put my voice out there for my district. I have big plans for education. I’m trying to go an aviation school and then also college to become a commercial airline pilot.

Motasim Abdalla, Youth Lead Organizer at Portland Empowered

Motasim Abdalla

I joined YEPs because it was recommended to me by a friend. I hope to graduate from high school and go to college. I like to play soccer and run track.

Narciso Massala, Youth Lead Organizer at Portland Empowered

Narciso Massala

I joined YEPS to help improve my leadership skills and help schools in my community grow and improve the teaching system, I hope schools understand or adopt new methods of interacting with their students these days… I love technology and I hope to be a system engineer in the future.

pencil hands portland empowered logo

Zeinab Hassan

My name is Zeinab. I’m a junior at Casco Bay High school. I enjoy learning new things and hanging out with friends and family as well as traveling. I wanted to be a student leader to mend the wrongs in our school district and fix certain parts of the educational system in our community. I hope that education reform finds its way to help minority and marginalized communities as well as being accessible to all.

Former Youth Lead Organizers

apiya charles of portland empowered

Apiyo Charles

Apiyo is a senior at Portland High School, where she is involved in the Black Student Union. As a Youth Lead Organizer, she hopes to become a better leader. Apiyo’s goal for YEP’s this year is to be more action oriented and raise awareness of problems within her school. Apiyo loves to dance and run track. She also has a twin!

balqies mohamed, former youth lead organizer at portland empowered

Balqies Mohamed

Balqies is a sophomore at Deering High School. Balqies is the founder and current president of the Muslim Student Association at her school. As a Youth Lead Organizer, she hopes to bridge divides between students of all gender, race, abilities, and sexual orientation. In her free time, she enjoys baking.

Bilalle Fulle of Portland Empowered

Bilalle Fulli

Billale has been involved with Portland Empowered since 2016. He started his journey in high school when he became a Youth Lead Organizer and attended the Youth Leadership Institute conference. For the past three years, he has been serving as an intern with Portland Empowered. Billale loves the progress within the organization over the past years and seeing individuals grow. He loves working first hand with students and helping to provide them with leadership skills in hopes of them becoming the future leaders of tomorrow. He is inspired by youth activism and is passionate about creating effective change for young people in their schools. Billale’s aspiration in life is to become either an educator or a social worker after he graduates USM, where he is currently majoring in Sociology and double minoring in Philosophy as well as Race and Ethnic Studies. When not with family or friends you can catch Billale either taking his daily spiritual walks around Portland or drinking his favorite Iced Vanilla Chai.

Casarra Abeasi, Former Youth Lead Organizer for Portland Empowered

Casarra Abeasi

Casarra is a senior at Portland High School, where she is a co-facilitator of the Black Student Union. She also participates in the Olympia Snowe Women’s Leadership Institution and Let’s Talk Bulldog Block, a women of color group. With her work in YEP’s, she hopes to create permanent change within her school and other high schools. As a Youth Lead Organizer, Casarra’s goal is to become comfortable with leading meaningful discussions. In her free time, Casarra enjoys hanging out with friends and family, and playing sports such as soccer, cheer and track. Cassera is very social and loves giving advice and helping others!

Christal E Ndaye, former Youth Lead Organizer for Portland Empowered

Christal E. Ndaye

Christal is a junior at Casco Bay High School. Christal is also involved in Maine Youth Court and enjoys playing squash. As a Youth Lead Organizer, Christal hopes to talk about systemic racism and work to diminish its impacts in our communities. In her free time, Christal weight lifts, play’s racquet sports, hang’s out with friends, and tries new things that test her strength!

Ladislas "Ladi" Nzeyimana, former Youth Lead Organizer for Portland Empowered

Ladislas “Ladi” Nzeyimana

Ladi is a senior at Deering High School, and is the current student body president. He loves to play soccer. He believes being a Youth Lead Organizer is an opportunity to expand on leadership and facilitation skills, and in addition, to gain perspective on on-going issues in Portland Public Schools, and to help solve issues. His goal this year as a YLO is to engage more people in conversations and address community issues that are being overlooked.

Mena Eltahir, former Youth Lead Organizer for Portland Empowered

Mena Eltahir

Mena is a current sophomore at Deering High School, where she is the president of the school’s Black Student Union. Mena is also a co-president of her class. Within Deering, Mena hopes to create real change through the hard work of YEPs! She loves hanging out with friends and Ben & Jerry’s Vanilla Ice Cream. She describes herself as a chocoholic!