Some people only ask others to do something. I believe that, why should I wait for someone else? Why don’t I take a step and move forward?
— Malala Yousafzai

Inspired by Natalie's own leadership, Natalie in the Light Inc. organizes projects to empower a new generation of young leaders. Here is a sample of our projects:

Young Bridging Leaders Program (YBL)


In 2016 we co-created the Young Bridging Leaders Program in partnership with the ASEAN Youth Leaders Association - Philippines (AYLA) after multiple rounds of consultation with many international and Philippines youth organizations.  YBL builds on our experience with Leadership Camps and The Leadership Journey to empower high-school leaders through a program in which they design and implement a project in their local community.

The YBL experience starts with high-school students forming teams and doing surveys in their community about urgent needs in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals. They choose which SDG to focus on, conduct research, and then come to a leadership camp to develop their leadership skills and to review their project design with the help of experts.

Following the camp, the teams go ahead to implement their project in their local community over a period of about six months, during which they also monitor their progress and tap support from a team manager and experts mobilized with the help of AYLA and Natalie in the Light Inc. This is followed by a review of lessons learned, leading to their graduation.

The YBL 2016 batch will graduate in July 2017 with teams of high-school leaders from the Dumingag National High School in Zamboanga del Sur, the Philippine Science High School (Eastern Visayas Campus), the University of Santo Tomas Junior High School in Manila, and the St. Pedro Poveda College in Mandaluyong.  See the gallery for photos.

Leadership Camps and The Leading Journey

Modern-day society is in need of a new type of young leader – one who believes in self-development and youth leadership, practices leading a healthy and balanced life, and makes a positive impact in their communities.

To prepare young students to become effective leaders in society after graduation, we organize an annual leadership camp. Successful applicants are between 12 and 15 years old and see themselves as smart and active, passionate for life, future leaders, and ready to speak up and reach out.

The leadership camp provides a unique opportunity to develop leadership and life skills, to get inspired, and to experience what leading means in practice through hands-on workshops, group activities, and a community outreach. By joining the two-day non-residential leadership camp, the students engage and expand their leadership abilities in practical ways to become the future leaders of society in preparation for life outside school, starting now.

Young leaders from five high schools joined Leadership Camp 2014 at British School Manila, including an outreach to street children cared for in the homes of Virlanie Foundation. Graduates met six weeks later for their reunion to share their experiences about making a difference. They also decided to form a batch group and organize team building and other projects by themselves.

Leadership Camp 2015 attracted young leaders from 11 high schools, and was held at British School Manila. The theme was "Light for Self and Others," exploring how effective leadership starts from knowing and improving the self. After a month of practice to make a difference, a graduation ceremony was held which marked the start of a one-year program called The Leading Journey, organized around quarterly Leadership Campers Fiestas. 

Several Leadership Camp graduates have stepped up to become a volunteer in organizing the camps. And partnerships have grown for collaboration with Virlanie Foundation, Aguinaldo International School, and the Food for Hungry Minds School. Among the projects initiated by Leadership Camp graduates are urban school gardens, in schools that have little or no open space.

The 1st Urban Garden Challenge Award was presented to the Food for Hungry Minds School in December 2015.

Young Leaders Program @APYE for #Hero2030

Starting in December 2015, Natalie in the Light Inc. has teamed up with TransformationFirst.Asia in Singapore and Urban Youth Academy in Seoul to create a Young Leaders Program for college leaders and young professionals at the Asia-Pacific Youth Exchange 2016 (#APYE2016) in Manila. Working with APYE partners, including the Asian Development Bank's Youth for Asia initiative, allows us to empower young leaders to make a difference and become heroes (#HERO2030) in implementing the new Sustainable Development Goals (#GlobalGoals). 

Forty six young leaders joined the program in January 2016, giving them access to in-person training sessions, local immersion in projects in Santa Rosa, Laguna Province, and a feedback and graduation session. The young leaders are also supported with online resources through the OnTop Forum of Aspiring Leaders in Asia and Beyond created by TransformationFirst.Asia. Watch this space for updates as they graduate and share their experience.

To further expand our activities and partnerships in 2016, Natalie in the Light Inc. is participating in the APYE2016 Job Fair to interview young leaders to become an intern for 5-6 months and learn to develop their leadership abilities in practice. 

Storytelling Workshops

Story telling is a magical life skill at school, in your profession, and when volunteering. The full-day storytelling workshop aims to expand children's leadership skills, by building their confidence and inspiring them to relate their experiences to others in one of the most meaningful ways possible, starting with reaching out to children.

In the video, storyteller Jay Galang, a resource person for our storytelling workshops, describes how storytelling is significant in honing one's leadership skills.

The first storytelling workshop was piloted in August 2014, while a second workshop 'Juansapanataym', which also focused on confidence-building and acting for storytelling, was held in October 2014 in collaboration with the Young Empowered Advocates towards Responsive Nursing (YEARN) at the College of Nursing of the University of the Philippines. The graduates will use their storytelling skills with children at the Philippine General Hospital.

Young Environmental Leaders Program

The five-day young environmental leaders program was organized in February 2014 for college and university students and involved exhibits, capacity building, and "Mentor as Coach" training for a group of young mentors to lead the way in informing and inspiring young advocates for the protection of the environment.

Young leaders from several colleges joined the first program on February 10 to 14, 2014 at the at the University of the Philippines Manila, including a pre-Valentine's Day "Love Pediatrics" outreach to children in pediatric wards of the Philippine General Hospital.

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