20131025 125247 CopyAiken Youth Empowerment (AYE), a program of Helping Hands, Inc., is now offering another great community program for South Carolina’s youth!
Through a partnership between Helping Hands and Columbia Urban League, Inc. (CUL), youth in Aiken and Edgefield now have access to the Aiken Youth Leadership Development Institute (YLDI).

This program is funded by the South Carolina Department of Social Services and offered by AYE, which is under the Helping Hands umbrella.
“The YLDI program is vital to under-served populations of young people because it helps empower them through life skills acquisition, leadership-building and career development,” stated Kandace Cave, AYE Community Educator.
The program, which is currently at capacity with 36 teens, gives youth a chance to learn important skills, take part in discussions that promote healthy choices, empower them to succeed in school and on the job, participate in other fun activities and also give back to the community.
In addition to their participation in various educational activities and presentations, “All active participants of the YLDI program attend a 3-day employment academy before gaining valuable experience through job-shadowing every summer. The teens are paid a stipend for their hard work and participation,” explained Cave.
Cave also mentioned participants utilize the “Work Keys” program which “allows students to earn certificates that are expected by many employers throughout the country.”
A few of the activities the youth have recently been involved in include, but are not limited to, various educational and informative presentations, S.E.E.D. Day, career exploration activities, the “Express the Dream” march and rally on MLK, Jr. Day and they recently took part in a community service project at the Historic Black Cemetery on Hampton Ave. in Aiken.
For more information about Columbia Urban League, Inc., visit: http://www.columbiaurbanleague.org. To learn more about the Aiken Youth Leadership Development Institute, visit the page on Facebook or contact Kandace Cave at Aiken Youth Empowerment, a program of Helping Hands, Inc. at (803) 648-3456.