Who we are

Youth for Debate, Inc. (YFD) was founded at Columbia University in 2009. It has since grown to be a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization, the second-largest service organization at Columbia. Our mission is to improve education in public schools through debate and public speaking instruction, encouraging students to think critically and advocate for themselves.

what we do

Each semester, we place more than 40 Columbia University student-coaches in public middle and high schools throughout four of the five New York City boroughs. We primarily focus on outreach to underserved schools that would not have debate programs without YFD. Our coaches teach a 7-week Debate I curriculum: visit our curriculum tab to learn more. At the end of the semester, we host a debate tournament at Columbia University for all of the students from the program.

Want YFD coaches at your school? Contact our Outreach Directors Lawrence Chillrud (lcg2139@columbia.edu) and Molly Kelleher (mck2178@barnard.edu). We place coaches in classrooms every fall and spring semester.

how to get involved