To be eligible, applicants must: Self-identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community; Be age 24 or younger; Either attended high school or completed GED in the D.C. Metro Area (D.C. and surrounding areas in MD and VA); Be starting your first semester of post-secondary education (2 or 4 year college, university, trade school, technical school etc.) by Fall of the year of the award. Thus, eligible applicants include graduating seniors, youth who took a gap year or two, youth who are completing a GED this Spring, etc.– as long as you are planning to start continuing education this upcoming year. Students returning to higher education (such as upperclassmen) are not eligible for this award. Consider your comfort level with being selected. Winners will have their picture and biography publicized.
Founded in 2015, SMYAL’s LGBT Youth Leadership Awards (YLA) provide a total of up to $25,000 to 5-8 student leaders each year. YLA winners receive up to $5,000 each for their extraordinary leadership and impact in their school or communities.
Leadership can be, but is not limited to: Participate in/lead a GSA or other student club; Supporting your community or friends through the pandemic; Working in the community to increase education and awareness; Involvement in social movements like BLM, climate action, gun control, etc.; Hosting conversations at a religious or community-based organization; Involvement in political advocacy; Arts activism.