Young Invincibles has been empowering young adults for over a decade; our network of youth community and student leaders numbers in the thousands. Young adults have proven time and time again that they will be the change past generations have hoped for. All we need to do is set them up for success. YI has embarked on a campaign to highlight the many alumni who have passed through our youth programs. Some now work as our colleagues and teammates, while others have been trailblazers at other institutions and programs. Some started their own campaigns to empower others. All around the world, YI alumni are doing wonderful work in service of the community.
Check out this month’s alumni highlight, Nicoletta Kolpakov.
Over the course of our advocates programs, YI gathers and trains the next generation of local community leaders. Throughout the program, advocates learn how to tell their stories impactfully, speak to elected officials, advocate for policy change, cultivate community, advise YI on our strategic plans, and pursue a policy they are passionate about, all while gaining transferable skills.
This month, we reached out to former NY/CO National Youth Advisory Board graduate Nicoletta Kolpakov to see what she’s up to. We asked her a couple of questions and asked if she had some wisdom to share with other advocates across the country.
What are you up to now after your time in the NYAB Program?
I am back in school! I am halfway through a law degree after nearly a decade in legislative and regulatory policy, working on congressional campaigns, national think tanks, and more recently in the tech sector. I have always wanted to go into law and policy, and have worked laterally with lawyers in the regulatory space my entire career. I graduated college at the age of 19 and I loved what I was doing at the time, which was working on grassroots campaigns in Colorado and legislative advocacy in D.C. So, I took a few years off before law school, which I recommend for anyone thinking about grad school.
What is a skill you learned during the program?
During my tenure on the National Youth Advisory Board, I have had the invaluable opportunity to develop and appreciate the skill of storytelling as a powerful tool in political advocacy, particularly in the context of higher education and civic engagement. Through engaging with diverse groups of young individuals and working on critical issues, I’ve learned that storytelling transcends mere facts and figures; it humanizes the challenges and triumphs that young people face in our country. This skill has proven to be instrumental in mobilizing support and driving change in my work on the board and in my professional life, where stories hold the potential to inspire, inform, and ignite meaningful action.
Any advice for current and future advocates?
To all the young advocates and individuals eager to make a difference in their communities, I offer this advice: Embrace the power of telling your story, be willing to be vulnerable, and never shy away from enacting change. Your youth is not a limitation; it’s a strength. When you share your personal stories and experiences, you can motivate others to do the same. Remember: authenticity is magnetic. Also, being the youngest in the room is never a bad thing; it means you bring fresh perspectives and untapped energy to the table. Use your unique position to challenge the status quo, question norms, and champion innovative solutions. Your voice matters, your passion is contagious, and your actions can shape the future. So, step forward and share your story, too.