The YWCA Youth Board of Northwest Louisiana was founded in Spring 2005. It is a group of high school students dedicated to raising awareness of domestic violence and helping its victims. The Board's long-term projects include tutoring underprivileged children in an inner-city neighborhood and adopting senior citizens for a year at a local retirement home. Its founder has collected 1,000 books to start a library for the tutoring program and hundreds of cleaning supplies and travel bags for violence victims. She has also raised nearly $5,000 for various Board projects.
To raise awareness of domestic violence, the Youth Board works with the YWCA for events like the fall 2007 "Pride in the Y" campaign, which encourages community support of the Family Violence Shelter. Having visited India several times, the Board's founder launched a fundraiser in 2006 to send snake bite antivenom kits to impoverished Indian villages. The Youth Board organized a free self-defense class for girls and annual holiday parties for domestic violence victims.
The Youth Board is also focused on increasing teen volunteerism and leadership. In 2006, the YWCA Youth Board Founder initiated GUTS (Generation United to Succeed), a youth leadership summit where 200 high school students met the city's mayoral candidates and speakers on issues from diversity to domestic violence. GUTS 2007 is currently being planned in partnership with the Mayor's Office.