HOW YLAG BEGAN...
From Vision to Impact: Creating Lasting Change!
From an early age, Shirelle Stroud has always attracted young people into her life. Raised in a household where family was a major priority, she understood its value. She became a mother and mentor to her younger cousins, her daughter’s friends and eventually what we now know as Young Ladies Aspiring Greatness (Y.L.A.G).
Working in the healthcare industry for over 20 years as a top-level manager, Ms. Stroud became increasingly concerned with the multitude of young women, especially African American who failed to demonstrate professionalism, ambition and basic character skills. As a single mother of two girls, she felt it her personal responsibility to take action. Shortly after, God gave her a profound vision to start a small mentoring group for teen girls. The program would provide inspiration and tools to become great leaders through community involvement. Her mission was to be an incubator for change. She wanted to provide a strong foundation that promoted a sisterhood geared towards helping one another reach and maintain higher goals. With support from her two daughters and niece, in February of 2013 Young Ladies Aspiring Greatness was born.
Since its inception, there have been a toatl of 75 members, 45 graduates and 30 current members. Outside of monthly community service, Shirelle also invites guest speakers who are experts in their field to educate, expose and inspire the girls. They currently host a television series on DATV and are contributing writers for the Dayton Weekly News; highlighting what is going on with youth in the city. In addition, the ladies facilitate quarterly events for their peers. Through partnerships with organizations such as Omega CDC, Greater Dayton Premier Management and the City of Trotwood, Y.L.A.G continues to expand its reach and impact in Dayton,OH and surrounding areas.
2019 was a pivotal year for recognition and expansion for both Shirelle and her organization. She was an honoree at The Heart of Gold Foundation’s Annual Gala and a recipient of Links Incorporated Community Impact Award. News channel, MSNBC invited Y.L.A.G to participate in a LIVE town hall program to discuss politics and the issues that affected their community. Later that year, they were nominated and received the Village Award from Dayton Young Black Professionals. On August 25, 2019 the city of Dayton declared this date officially Young Ladies Aspiring Greatness Day. In 2023 Y.L.A.G received the OFP Jegnaship award and Shirelle received the Community Advocate Award from Shiloh United Church of Christ.
It has been a joy and honor for Shirelle to give back to her community, which has poured so much into her and her family.