Youth Lead Organizers (YLOS)

Every school year, 1-3 Youth Lead Organizers (YLOs) represent each high school in Portland (Deering, Portland, and Casco Bay High Schools). YLOs meet weekly to plan larger district-wide meetings and to learn and practice organizing and facilitation skills. YLOs facilitate activities for the larger YEP meetings and work with their respective high schools to support campaigns and recruitment of other students. 


If you are interested in getting involved as a Lead Organizer next school year, know that we prioritize youth who are part of our Youth Engagement Partners before applying. If you are interested in getting involved, fill out the form on our Contact Us page. 

Apiyo Charles

Apiyo is a senior at Portland High School, where she is involved in the Black Student Union. As a Youth Lead Organizer, she hopes to become a better leader. Apiyo’s goal for YEP’s this year is to be more action oriented and raise awareness of problems within her school. Apiyo loves to dance and run track. She also has a twin!

Balqies Mohamed

Balqies is a sophomore at Deering High School. Balqies is the founder and current president of the Muslim Student Association at her school. As a Youth Lead Organizer, she hopes to bridge divides between students of all gender, race, abilities, and sexual orientation. In her free time, she enjoys baking. 

Casarra Abeasi

Casarra is a senior at Portland High School, where she is a co-facilitator of the Black Student Union. She also participates in the Olympia Snowe Women’s Leadership Institution and Let’s Talk Bulldog Block, a women of color group. With her work in YEP’s, she hopes to create permanent change within her school and other high schools. As a Youth Lead Organizer, Casarra’s goal is to become comfortable with leading meaningful discussions. In her free time, Casarra enjoys hanging out with friends and family, and playing sports such as soccer, cheer and track. Cassera is very social and loves giving advice and helping others!

Christal E. Ndaye

Christal is a junior at Casco Bay High School. Christal is also involved in Maine Youth Court and enjoys playing squash. As a Youth Lead Organizer, Christal hopes to talk about systemic racism and work to diminish its impacts in our communities. In her free time, Christal weight lifts, play’s racquet sports, hang’s out with friends, and tries new things that test her strength!

Ladislas "Ladi" Nzeyimana

Ladi is a senior at Deering High School, and is the current student body president. He loves to play soccer. He believes being a Youth Lead Organizer is an opportunity to expand on  leadership and facilitation skills, and in addition, to gain perspective on on-going issues in Portland Public Schools, and to help solve issues. His goal this year as a YLO is to engage more people in conversations and address community issues that are being overlooked.  

Mena Eltahir

Mena is a current sophomore at Deering High School, where she is the president of the school’s Black Student Union. Mena is also a co-president of her class. Within Deering, Mena hopes to create real change through the hard work of YEPs! She loves hanging out with friends and Ben & Jerry’s Vanilla Ice Cream. She describes herself as a chocoholic!

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