Layah Willis, Founder

Layah champions kids whose limited experiences keep them from having big dreams. She was inspired to create CYE by her own experience growing up in a low-income community, attending underprivileged schools in Los Angeles, and working with youth with similar backgrounds. She studied socioeconomic disparities in inner-city communities and explored solutions that could close opportunity gaps for youth and uplift new generations. 

CYE was created to provide an innovative solution to the most common problems at-risk youth face growing up today. Layah envisions CYE being a light in children’s lives, creating positivity and possibility in the lives of young people. Through her work with CYE, Layah has brought to life her dream of creating opportunities that help at-risk youth realize their dreams and propel them toward a brighter future. 

While overseeing the day-to-day operations at City Youth Exposure, Layah continues to learn about issues affecting today’s underserved youth and remains committed to professional excellence through her ongoing engagement in leadership development. Layah earned a B.A. in Sociology and a minor in Education from the University of California, Berkeley. She has a Master’s degree in Nonprofit Management from Antioch University Los Angeles and is credentialed as a Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP).