Youth Leaders in Kansas (YLinK) Program

YLINK Group PhotoYouth Leaders in Kansas, known more commonly around the state by its acronym, YLINK, offers an opportunity for young adults to develop community awareness and youth leadership skills during the formative ages of 12 to 18 years. Various YLINK sites can be found in cities and small towns across the state of Kansas. They operate with the local support and guidance of caring adult volunteers, community partners, and alongside the youth's primary caregiver(s), especially parents.

YLINK provides youth a unique learning experience while interacting with peers, supportive adults, and their communities in positive ways which lays the foundation for successful future endeavors as they learn and explore the real world and their ability to contribute.

YLINK is a great resource for young adults with information on the importance of education and development of individual and group leadership skills in their local community, statewide and even nationally. The program provides an array of experiences which includes, but is not limited to, improving family and peer relationships, community engagement, incorporating knowledge and training for employment and/or vocational education and self-advocacy skills.

YLINK groups promote and provide programs that address mental health stigma reduction, suicide prevention, behavioral health awareness, youth voice and advocacy.  There are also opportunities for youth to participate in the state legislative process and learn about politics and advocacy at every level.  Providing input to the Governor’s Behavioral Health Services Planning Council is a prime example.

YLINK supports a youth conference annually to celebrate the successes of its local groups. The youth are joined by national speakers, attend breakout learning sessions on multiple topics and have a lot of FUN! 

For current conference information or to learn how to apply to become a YLINK group contact the KDADS Youth Engagement Specialist at [email protected]

The program is supported through grant funds from the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services's Behavioral Health Services Commission.

Current YLINK Sites

Allen County (3)
~USD 256 - Moran
~USD 257 - Iola
~USD 258 - Humboldt
Jessica McGinnis - [email protected]
Barton County (1)

Great Bend - Youth Crew
Marissa Woodmansee - [email protected]
Ryan Lichter - [email protected]
Tyler Morton - [email protected]

Butler County (3)
El Dorado
Isiah Lykes - [email protected]
Jen Riley -  [email protected]

Clay County (3)
Clay Center High School
Clay Center Jr. High School
Wakefield High School
Lori Martin - [email protected]

Ford County (1)
Dodge City - Compass Behavioral Health
Richard Falcon - [email protected]

Harvey County (6)
Heather Ferralez - [email protected]
Rachael Engledowl - [email protected]

Marion County (1)
Goessel - USD #411
Gerard Dunne - [email protected]
Scott Boden - [email protected]

McPherson County (1)
McPherson - PDATS
Sherill Carlson - [email protected]

Montgomery County (1)
Independence - Four County MHC
Shayla Littau - [email protected]

Reno County (4) - Rise Up Reno
Carla Smith - [email protected]

Sedgwick County (4) - USD #259
Student Empowerment (district wide)
North High School
Northwest High School
West High School

Patty Stuever - [email protected]
Paul Kitchen - [email protected]
Melanie Hansel - [email protected]
Jordon Kaspa - [email protected]

+ Mental Health America
Desirae Corey - [email protected]

Shawnee County (2)
Topeka West High School - Topeka West Chargers
Eric Cortez - [email protected]

Highland Park High School - Girl Up

Juli Watson - [email protected]
Tanyea Bingham - [email protected]
Michelle Lee - [email protected]

Sumner County (2)
Belle Plaine - USD #357
Cassy Dalbom - [email protected]
Richard Gilson - [email protected]

Wellington - USD #353
Karla Defore  - [email protected]

Wallace County (1)
Sharon Springs - USD #241
Rebecca Edwards - [email protected]
Wyandotte County (1)
Kansas City - Piper Middle Shool
Jennifer Warneke - [email protected]

Application for the Governor's Behavioral Health Services Planning Council Youth Advisory Council

Complete the following questions to apply for the opportunity to represent the voice of Gen Z from all over Kansas, advocate for your generation, advise the Governor’s Behavioral Health Services Planning Council and create real and lasting change in the state of Kansas.

As an inaugural member of the GBHSPC Youth Advisory Council, you will have the opportunity to help establish the future of the council, identify, and discuss needs all over the state and connect and share with peers from communities across Kansas.

Requirements for Youth Members:

  • Must be 14 to 19 years old (eligible if high school until end of summer after high school graduation)
  • Must attend bi-monthly meetings
  • Must be passionate about voicing needs of youth at the state level

Please note that this application does not guarantee you a place on the council. You will receive an e-mail confirming your application submission. If selected, you will receive another e-mail providing next steps for your involvement on the council.



Please Contact: [email protected]