Meet NAZA’s Youth Advisor, Allie Duke!

Hi, I’m Allie Duke, NAZA’s Youth Advisor since Summer 2019. I first started with NAZA back in Fall 2017. Ever since I was a freshman in high school, I have been volunteering with Nations Ministry Center, a NAZA-funded program, by tutoring refugee middle school youth at McMurray Middle School. After getting to know them more during snack times, I was able to bond specifically with them over soccer. It was clear that having a friend who cared about their progress encouraged them to work even harder. They would come to me with excited eyes whenever they leveled up on their English-learning computer program Lexia, and I got to share in their joy.

Once I saw how positively the after school space affected these young people, I started to look into all that NAZA does. I researched and stumbled upon NAZA’s summer internship through Opportunity NOW. I thought it would be a perfect fit, since my prior connection to NAZA had been such a positive experience. My supervisor Marielle tasked me to look into ways NAZA could become more connected to youth in Nashville. While I was a bit daunted by such an open-ended mission, I was thankful for the amount of trust she had given me and that it was truly youth-led.

I started out researching organizations similar to NAZA nationally to learn how they integrated youth into their work, and I began contemplating what, as a young person, would make my opinion feel valuable. Fast forward to the end of my six weeks, and I had made a pretty fully-developed initiative: Youth in Action!

Now we’re in our first school year of the pilot, and Youth in Action! is actively recruiting high schoolers to become a part of a leadership group taking action in their community. These Youth Community Leaders mentor middle schoolers to help them think through issues and develop solutions at the after-school, school and citywide levels. Youth Community Leaders then meet as a task force called Youth Matters that takes middle schoolers’ ideas (and our own) and implements them widely alongside adult collaborators. While we are currently in a pilot phase in North Nashville, our plan is to build out the initiative to include all of Nashville.

Would you like to join us?

  1. Share this recruitment flyer with high schoolers in North Nashville.
  2. Email us at with any questions or feedback.
  3. Be a volunteer mentors/guests at our programs by emailing your area(s) of expertise/interest to (for example: social justice, transportation, coping skills, etc.—these have come up in our sessions with middle school youth so far).