Introducing NBA’s New Young Adult Leadership Development Program Area
The National Benevolent Association is excited to announce an expansion to our work with young adults! The NBA has engaged with young adults (ages 18 to 30) in a multitude of ways throughout our history. Whether via our Leadership Scholars Program in the 1990s, in partnerships with ministries serving young people, or creating the NBA XPLOR Residency program, meaningfully working with young adult communities has been an important part of NBA programming.
For the last 40 years, our work with young adults has provided leadership development, vocational discernment, community engagement, and intentional community mostly in the form of residency programs and with health and social service organizations. Our new Young Adult Leadership Development (YALD) program area will continue to provide these opportunities and build upon them.
“Our expanded focus on leadership development with young adults allows us to take the lessons learned and the meaningful impact of our previous programs and broaden our imagination and scope of support for young adult leaders,” says Monica Wedlock Kilpatrick, NBA’s Vice President of Organizational & Leadership Development. “We have re-envisioned residential programs to be more trauma-informed and centered in identity and vocational formation, while also shaping programs that respond to the needs and dreams of young adults emerging in a new generation.”
YALD program area seeks to create a variety of avenues for young adults to find support from the NBA through our other program areas such as Community Engagement and Social Entrepreneurship. We are designing new spaces for leadership development, not simply for, but with young adults themselves.
Additionally, the expansion of this program area is about co-creating spaces for learning and engagement that will:
- Cultivate healthy and holistic identity formation.
- Discover and affirm leadership potential.
- Explore leadership opportunities that transform the Church and local communities.
- Build capacity and skills for leadership in health, social services, and justice work.
The YALD program area will be led by our new director Dr. Tene Davis. She began her tenure in 2023 and comes to NBA with decades of experience working with, supporting, and creating programming for children, adolescents, and college students. Her research interests include the history of education in the South and of Black education, urban education, curriculum and instruction, educational policy, and college readiness, making her a well-rounded fit for the new role as director. Rev. Monica Wedlock Kilpatrick and Young Adult Leadership Development Mission Specialist Rev. Virzola Law will continue to support the work of this program as well.
“Tene is most equipped to jump in and advance the programmatic groundwork that existed within the YALD program area, while also offering her own new creative insights to help us expand and flourish,” reflects Wedlock Kilpatrick. “She has successful grant-writing experience and the ability to form internal and external partnerships for support and collaboration. We believe Tene brings a level of focus, commitment, and drive that will work well in this position!”
Some of the first offerings of this new program area will be unveiled this summer. NBA is actively laying the groundwork for special granting opportunities to support leadership development and project exploration, a new adult peer group, and a leadership experience for young Black women. These upcoming opportunities are not only being shaped with young adults in mind, they are being created alongside young adults who have been engaged with NBA through our XPLOR Residency Program, and our Peer Learning & Wellness Groups. We’re excited to share more details about these endeavors very soon.
To learn more about this new program, visit NBAcares.org/young-adults and be the first to hear about our new initiatives and opportunities for young adults by signing up for our monthly email newsletter.