Youth & College About

The Youth & College Division serves as the premier institution for young people to develop the skills they need to meet various challenges that face African Americans and other youth of color. NAACP youth units across the country engage in social justice activism, addressing issues at the local, state and national level, with a primary focus on education, economic development, health, juvenile justice and voter empowerment.

According to its mission statement, the division aims to inform youth of the problems affecting African Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities, to advance the status of the African American community, to stimulate appreciation of the African Diaspora and other people of color’s contribution to society, and to develop intelligent and militant youth leadership.

"The Youth & College Division helped me develop as a leader and as an activist," stated NAACP Chairman Roslyn M. Brock, a former youth member.

Over five hundred members of the Youth and College Division have served on our National Board of Directors since the inception of youth designated positions in 1963. The NAACP continues to serve as a fertile training ground for the type of leadership needed in today’s society. Leaders who respect democracy and appreciate community. I am proud that the division is still going strong, and excited about engaging the new front line of the NAACP in the coming years.
— NAACP Chairman Roslyn Brock

"The Youth & College Division is important not only because it educates and trains young leaders, but also because of the notable accomplishments of its members," stated NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous, another former member of the division. "The division has seen a renewed spirit of leadership and activism in recent years, evident in the powerful civic engagement efforts like the Upload 2 Uplift and Vote Hard campaigns as well as mobilization efforts led by young people within the Association."

The division today is composed of more than 25,000 young people under the age of 25. They represent 600 youth councils, high school chapters and college chapters, making the division one of the largest organized groups of young people of any secular organization in the country.

From March through December, the Youth & College Division will celebrate their 75th anniversary with local coordinated activities around the country, and will host a national youth town hall meeting during the NAACP National Convention in Los Angeles.

Additionally, later this year the division will launch a new social networking project as the NAACP continues to engage young people in 21st century technology initiatives.


Membership: Any person under the age of 13
Focus: Providing interactive and entertaining instruction on the history of Africans in the Diaspora (specifically the NAACP and the Civil Rights Movement). Basic leadership development and community service are also key focus areas.

Membership: Any person under the age of 25
Focus: Training and developing the skills necessary for leadership and activism. Mobilization, community education, and youth activities are essential focus areas of the Youth Council.

Membership: Any person who is enrolled as a student in a high school or comparable secondary school
Focus: Training and developing the skills necessary for leadership and activism. Mobilization, community education, and youth activities are essential focus areas of the Youth Council.

Membership: Any person under the age of 25 and/or currently enrolled as a student at a college or university
Focus: Training and fine-tuning intellectual and leadership skills manifest in an increased level of social and political activism.

The Youth & College Division Staff is responsible for the day to day operation of the Division located in the National Headquarters of the NAACP in Baltimore, Maryland and seven regional locations. The staff creates the Division’s National Agenda and supports NAACP Youth Units, via training and field events, toward the fulfillment of that Agenda. The National Director of the Youth & College Division is Sammie Dow.

STATE YOUTH & COLLEGE DIVISION (approx. 37 State Youth & College Divisions):
NAACP State Youth & College Divisions are designed to create specific agendas that address issues facing young people in a given state. State Youth & College Divisions also provide training and support to the youth units within their state. Each State Youth & College Division consists of a President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Advisor and additional officers elected bi-annually by the youth members during their State Conference in the fall.

LOCAL UNITS (approx. 600 youth units across the country/25,000 members):
Local Units consist of Junior Youth Councils, Youth Councils, High School Chapters, College Chapters, and Young Adult Councils that serve as the ground troops in the struggle for civil rights. Like the State Youth and College Division, each unit has a President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and additional officers elected by the members of each local unit.