Our Story

In 2006, worried about and heartbroken over a spike in youth violence, the San Diego community gathered with a goal to work together better for our children. Led by the work of the San Diego Organizing Project, they identified the catalyst of the tragedy: slashed funding for youth programs and services. Then, the elected officials, community organizers, committed public servants, religious leaders and parents created a plan they believed would bring a better future for San Diego.

Rooted in San Diego

The group knew re-establishing funding was only a piece of the solution. Their plan included a Youth Development Office (YDO) that would be devoted to making youth a priority by creating an integrated system that would protect children and youth from being the victims the next time the city faced financial struggles. The YDO would also ensure that the various perspectives and approaches in the county coordinated to support San Diego’s youth.

Towards the end of 2018, our former executive director, youth leaders, and board members embarked on a journey to rebrand what used to be known as the Youth Development Office. In May 2019, during the San Diego Workforce Partnership Opportunity Summit, that rebranding was unveiled and the newly branded Youth Will came to reality. 

Our Vision

A San Diego where every young person has what they need to be happy, healthy, and prepared to reach their potential

Our Mission

To build youth power, improve youth development, and demand youth prioritization.

Youth Empowerment

We focus on uplifting youth voices ages 25 and younger

Policy Change

Advocacy for policy priorities to build a more equitable future

What We Do

Youth Advocacy

Our youth action teams  shape our priorities and advocate for the changes that they have identified to create a better San Diego


Youth-led model in which adult allies provide support  & advice

Join Us And Become A Volunteer

Sign up here to get informed of action team meetings for community impact initiatives and how you can be a part of our movement.

Our Impact

Youth Will creates access to youth  programs in accordance with our Youth Bill of Rights. Learn more about our Bill of Rights, priorities, and wins at Community Impact.

Over the last year, San Diego Youth Will has coordinated 5 programs, totaling $1.72 million for San Diego youth programs:

  • June 2021: Created the first and only central office in San Diego for youth advocate programs.
  • March 2021: Created youth employment opportunities in community green spaces, through the Youth Environmental/Recreation Corps.
  • June 2021: Supported youth employment at rec centers with the City Youth Environment Corp.
  • May 2021: Helped young girls feel more free to visit public spaces through the #Free4Me program, funded by San Diego county.
  • May 2020: Our Emergency Resource Ambassadors spread emergency COVID-19 resources and supplies for low-income youth.

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