The Youth Academy is a four-year leadership and college access program for promising high school students who will benefit from early intervention to ensure that they reach their full academic and career potential. Eligible students are invited to apply in eighth grade, and must meet the following criteria: live in Worcester, Massachusetts; meet maximum family income guidelines; exhibit the academic potential to succeed in college; and be the first generation of their family to attend college. Youth Academy supports the students through four years of high school, motivating and preparing them for college. Youth Academy includes individual advising and mentoring; internships; adventure challenge trips; academic enrichment and tutoring, volunteer community service; parent involvement and class and community meetings. Youth Academy graduates are eligible for need-based tuition scholarships from the Worcester Consortium colleges and universities. The program is offered to students at no cost, and is funded through contributions from individuals, foundations and corporations. The population served by the Youth Academy is very diverse, with 75-80% being students of color and representing African American and Latino language and cultural groups, as well as African, East and South Asian, Eastern European, Central and South American and Caribbean immigrant groups.