Everyday Leadership is a collaborative effort created to provide low-income 5th and 6th grade youth with the skills and self-confidence they will need to graduate from high school and attain a post-high school education. 


Students who fail to graduate from high school or achieve post-high school training are frequently unprepared for the workplace and especially vulnerable to negative influences.     They become a breeding ground for the social and economic issues being experienced in our communities   A Northeastern University study found that high school dropouts comprise over 80 percent of the incarcerated population.  Because of their low earning potential, they frequently become dependent on public resources, costing taxpayers $292,000 during their lives.

The problem in Idaho is especially significant.  Idaho’s high school graduation rate rests at 82% Only 44% of Idaho’s workforce (ages 25 to

34) has obtained post-high school certificates or degrees.

Everyday Leadership targets fifth and sixth grade students because these youth are at a “gateway” where students with low self-esteem and poor academics are nineteen times more likely to drop out of school as their peers.   Low-income youth are especially at risk.   These students are five times more likely to drop out of high school than higher income students.  With 40 to 60% of Treasure Valley students coming from low-income families, the significance of this issue is too big to ignore.


Title I Schools (Currently Taft, Grace Jordan, Jefferson, Garfield, Whitney, Koelsch, Morley Nelson, and Wilson Elementary Schools).  Provide teachers to serve as lead instructors, solicit student involvement, monitor outcomes, and seek ways to facilitate student participation.

The Treasure Valley YMCA Developed and maintains the curriculum, provides experienced staff to serve a lead instructors or to work with school teachers, directs the leadership camp activities and provides the facilities.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Idaho Provides mentors for students as requested.

The Rotary Clubs of Boise Metro and Boise Sunrise Provide funding and seek community sponsors.  Meet with students throughout the school year to discuss what they are learning and how they are applying the new insights.



  • Thirteen, Leadership Meetings scheduled throughout the school year. Topics include life skills such as leadership motivating a team, effective communication, conflict resolution, making a difference and decision making.
  • Two Community Service Projects.
  • A Three-Day Leadership Camp at the YMCA’s Horse Thief Camp.


2013/14 and 2014/15 school years (20 students attending Grace Jordan).  Principal, parents, and instructors reported positive changes in participants’ academic performance and personal behaviors. They were positively influencing the behaviors of other students.

2015/2016 school year (81 students attending Grace Jordan, Jefferson and Garfield).   School attendance increased for 60% of the students. Grades improved for 54%. Educators and parents reported nearly all of the youth were adopting leadership skills.

 2016/17 school year (76 students attending Grace Jordan, Jefferson and Garfield). Grades improved for 64% of the students.  The number of students with GPAs < 2.5 dropped to zero.  Students involved in behavioral issues dropped from 20 to 13.

2017/18 school year (108 students attending Grace Jordan, Jefferson, Garfield, and Taft).  87% of the students improved their grades or had a GPA >3.5.  The number of students with GPAs < 2.5 dropped to zero.   Behavioral incidences declined by 65%.

 2018/19 school year (141 students participated from Grace Jordan, Jefferson, Garfield, Taft, Koelsch, and Whitney).  86% of the students improved their grades or maintained their GPA >3.5.  Behavioral incidences declined by 55% at five of the schools.

Annual Costs per School

School Teacher as Leader: $6,350                                          YMCA Instructor as Leader: $5,600

Opportunities for Cooperation

  • Sponsorship of Everyday Leadership at a school ($2,000 to $6,350 for two or more years)
  • Introduction of Everyday Leadership in your community.


Everyday Leadership has taught our kids to break down social barriers and share their thoughts and feelings appropriately.  The community outreach programs teach students the value of helping others.  Everyday Leadership helps to teach students the value of respect, dignity, honesty, responsibility and teamwork, which are our Boise School District values.”  Joan Bigelow, Principal, Jefferson Elementary School

 “The children that participate are taught specific, real life skills and characteristics that prepare them for junior high school, high school, and beyond. A tremendous number of the students participating in EL go on to take accelerated courses in secondary school, participate in student leadership activities, and/or enroll in AVID programs. Entry and participation in all of these activities are merit-based, and I am confident that our students’ participation in EL has given them an edge. We also see the immediate benefits in students’ behavior and enthusiasm for school. EL plants the seed in students’ minds that their future is genuinely in their hands; they can achieve whatever they set their minds to do. I am grateful for the value that EL adds to our students’ academic experience and our school’s climate.”

Tim Lowe, Principal, Taft Elementary School

“The purpose of this letter is to express my belief in the Everyday Leadership program and its effectiveness on, specifically but not limited to, our at-risk youth. In my experience, which is shared by many of my colleagues, the Everyday Leadership is a vital part in empowering marginalized children”. Joshua D. Brandt, Case Manager, Brighter Future Health, Inc.

“I think there are a lot of great things happening in the program at Jefferson. I have seen certain students rise to the occasion and really take on leadership roles. I have seen students working with younger students and teaching them about conservation and citizenship. I have seen it to be pretty powerful in our school. Ted Totorica, Principal Jefferson Elementary School