James Baird at the House of Learning in Chamba, India. 2014.

James Baird at the House of Learning in Chamba, India. 2014.


In 2005, James Baird--a 17 year old from Salt Lake City, Utah--asked his dad, Robert Baird, what they could do to help others. With twenty of James' friends from Highland High School, the two of them created a leadership training program and humanitarian expedition to Northern India. After many twists and turns, adventures, and life lessons, Youth Making a Difference was created. Over 1000 young people along the Wasatch Front, and even more in India, have been impacted for the better because one young man wanted to make a difference.  Thanks, James!



The mission of Youth Making a Difference is to provide leadership training and practical experiences that make a difference in the world, transforming the lives of the participants and those they serve.


YMAD Leadership Training is based on 7 values of leadership. During the year the teens learn about leadership and how to make a difference in the world from educators, mentors and guest speakers. They apply leadership skills in practical ways, such as working with children in local schools to improve their ability to speak English, or humanitarian expeditions to a developing country to work with children in rural schools, helping them learn English and receive needed medical care. The planning, fundraising, and execution of these projects gives the teens hands-on experience in taking responsibility, working as a team, serving others, developing a vision, tackling tough assignments, doing research, inspiring each other, and sticking to their commitments. After the year-long training and expedition, the teens seek ways to use these new skills to make a difference for the rest of their lives.



You will be trained in a new level of integrity. You will have the ability to bring honor to your word. Your productivity, your relationships and confidence will dramatically increase as you develop mastery in living a life of integrity.


You will be trained in creating vision. You will have the ability to create a vision for yourself and others that goes beyond what is predictably going to happen, and may go beyond what anyone knows how to achieve.


You will be trained to be an inspiration to others. You will inspire others to act when they would hesitate, to dream when others would dread. You will call others out of their “comfort zones” and empower them to choose to commit.


You will be trained to develop courage. You will welcome challenges that push you beyond your self-perceived limitations. You will display confidence and peace under stress.


You will be trained in compassion. You will develop compassion in a way that allows you to feel another’s suffering without fear; to act strongly in the face of others’ pain. You will learn that compassion does not weaken; it strengthens.


You will be trained in forgiveness. You will learn the importance of choosing forgiveness at any given moment in any situation—giving you freedom, joy, peace and satisfaction in your life. You will have the tools to teach others to forgive.


You will be trained in expressing gratitude. You will have the tools to express gratitude by word and deed, in a way that positively affects those around you.