Our program takes a holistic approach to learning. We strategically constructed a curriculum which encourages critical thinking and builds upon skills which are necessary for independence.


  • Highly interactive workshops ranging from various topics and interwoven together to provide a comprehensive, and measurable, learning experience.
  • We don't tell youth what to do, we show them how to do it by providing them with the tools, instruction, and knowledge they need to accomplish their goals.
  • We deliver our programing in a learning environment where youth are respected, valued, and heard.
  • Since we understand our students so well, we are able to provide them the guidance they need and have crafted our entire curriculum with them in mind.


  • Youth will meet with peers for four hour workshops and compose individualized plans created by them, led by instructor and some occasional guests. Lunch is included!
  • A fun, challenging, highly interactive and engaging curriculum.
  • Create an environment of observable growth.
  • Take coaching approach when interacting with students vs. authoritative.


Danya was born in Syria, Damascus where she lived with her mother and grandparents until age ten. Her parents agreed to have her join her father in the United States in the hopes of providing her with more opportunities. Shortly after making the move, her mentally ill father began to physically, verbally and emotionally abuse her. After a turbulent four years and a failed suicide attempt, she was removed out of the home and placed in foster care at age thirteen. Many placements later at the tender age of 17, she rented her first apartment and found herself very alone unaware of what steps to take next. She knew she should go back to school, but she didn't know how to start the process. Additionally, there was a little voice inside telling her that she wasn't smart enough to finish her education due to her being so academically behind because of all the moves. She faced many struggles, and overcame tremendous challenges, which motivated her to help other people in the same situation. She wanted to provide people who's footsteps she had walked in before someone they could relate to. She wanted to show them that with the right guidance, dedication and resources they too could be successful and that the sky is the limit!


Who knew that a cup of coffee with an old colleague would lead to the creation of a program that would one day end up helping thousands of struggling teens? I certainly didn't, but in hindsight that was probably the most important cup of coffee I've ever had! It was through that conversation and the desire to help teens that were struggling, that Emerging Leaders Fellowship (ELF) was born. ELF was created to address a need for additional resources, education and encouragement for youth aging out of the foster care system. The goal for ELF was to develop a creative solution to a national epidemic in the hopes that through involvement with this organization, youth would thrive after aging out.