Engaging Today’s Youth for Our Future

Today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders. How can we best engage this population to grow and revitalize our communities? Learn how organizations across Florida are reaching out, and giving a hand up, to youth in creative ways. We’ll discuss programs that provide business and employment opportunities to the next generation of leaders.

Ashley Weiss served as a Young Adult Conservation Corps member at Community Training Works (CTW) as a trail crew member, then crew leader, and went on to provide excellent leadership as a Community Connection Coordinator on the “Let’s Move Outside” initiative before joining staff as Program Coordinator. She engaged over 20,000 youths in service projects in the outdoors. As the youngest-ever CTW board member, she’s connecting youth with professional development and self-sufficiency opportunities. Ashley continues to be a regular volunteer in her community and is a Heartfelt Earth Walks Certified Nature & Forest Therapy Guide.

RaShani Boynton is H.O.M.E.S. Inc’s Self Sufficiency Manager and is responsible for the Youth Self Sufficiency Housing program and the youth internship program. In her current position, she acts as a liaison between housing and life coach agencies to help youth sustain housing while being a productive member of society. As the manager of the internship program, RaShani builds employer relationships, while coaching and guiding youth to maintain employment. RaShani is passionate about advocating for aged out youth and those currently in the system. She is a graduate of Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University.


Ron Bradford is a Program Manager at the University Area CDC, Tampa for the Prodigy Cultural Arts program. The program provides life-skills-infused classes in the visual and performing arts to youths, ages 5-19. Ron has worked with Prodigy for 15 years in several different administrative and programmatic capacities. A strong believer in the work of nonprofit and community development corporations to impact lives, Ron has worked in this sector for 21 years. Ron has been married for 22 years, has two children, and loves building relationships.