Programs and Campaigns

Programs and Campaigns image of kids

Youth Development & Leadership

internship program

Intern with the CDF

Do you have a passion for children? Would you like to work to make a real difference in the lives of children around the nation? Join our internship program and work with us as we improve the lives of children. Click here for more information.

Policy in action is a distinguishing CDF characteristic. Through nationwide initiatives and community-based programs, we plant the seeds to develop the next generation of servant-leaders who will continue to reweave the fabric of community for children and youth. Our vision is to create a successor generation of servant-leaders who will drive community and national transformations and inspire and make long-term improvements for children.

Beat the Odds® Awards Ceremonies

This winter, CDF hosted Beat the Odds celebrations for high school students who have overcome tremendous adversity in California, Washington, D.C., Texas, Minnesota, Ohio, and New York. For the past 22 years, the program has supported more than 700 students with college scholarships, and has served as a catalyst for young people to become doctors, lawyers, Peace Corps volunteers, teachers and contributing citizens in their communities. Learn more about the Beat the Odds program.

Don’t live in a city hosting an event? Make a donation to the general scholarship fund.

CDF and the Black Community Crusade for Children’s (BCCC) Young Advocate Leadership Training (YALT®) Program

An overarching Children’s Defense Fund priority is to build a strong, effective successor generation of young servant leaders to carry on the struggle for freedom and justice. CDF has committed to a five year campaign to train 5,000 next generation leaders, at least half of them Black males, to ensure a robust youth leadership pipeline and ongoing structures for service and advocacy in communities across America. Through the Young Advocate Leadership Training (YALT®) program, CDF provides a beginner, intermediate, and advanced training series to equip the next generation’s leaders with the skills and support needed to take national, state and local action to replace the cradle to prison pipeline with a pipeline to college, productive work, and successful adulthood.

Learn more about the YALT program