About Us

Bringing Social-Emotional Learning to Education

Lead Yourself Youth is about aligning self-awareness, empathy, integrity, service and the ability to take care of ourselves no matter how abundant or scarce local resources. We break the self-limiting barriers that are common within adolescent development.

We care about all communities and all future leaders thriving, regardless of socioeconomic status. We offer a path to transform the institution of education for all kids one barrier at a time by providing resources to pre-teens & teens that are otherwise unavailable. Often there are ample resources that focus on the problem after it’s been identified, but we are here to proactively prevent these from ever happening.

Our Team

Our team has been actively engaging in this work for years and to proven and effective results. The outcomes have greatly shifted clients’ mindsets, level of reported stress and shown improvements in performance, as measured by grades, feedback from others, performance outcomes, or income.

Who We Are

Andrea Bordenca

Founder, Community Engagement Organizer

Andrea’s background is in generative leadership & Strozzi-based Somatics. Andrea has been coaching adults & leading workshops for several years. As chairperson & CEO of DESCO, a medical emergency service organization, she has intimate experience being in, and leading others who are in deep stress & anxiety.

Andrea’s focus is on leadership & learning for kids & aspiring leaders. Andrea’s approach to leadership is holistic, combines eastern & western philosophy with a focus on building coherence with our physical body, emotional intelligence & our historical narratives. This discourse comes from the Institute for Generative Leadership, Newfield Network and Strozzi Institute.

More about at Andrea:  www.andreabordenca.com

Sara Vatore

Lead Faculty Director and Somatic Educator

Sara Vatore is a Somatic Experience Practitioner, Peak Performance Coach and Level 2 MELT Method Instructor. With over 20 years of experience working with kids and their families and a background in School Guidance Counseling, Sara has a deep understanding of child development, adolescents and the difficulties that they face.

Through her vast knowledge of the nervous system and the body, Sara helps her clients build capacity and resiliency in their systems, no matter their age. This results in the ability to more dynamically and easily negotiate life challenges, overcome fears and blocks, and set and manifest their goals.

Sara is passionate about educating parents, teachers, coaches, and mind/body professionals about how our stress physiology and biology affect our responses when we are triggered, overwhelmed or under stress. She teaches how to build somatic awareness, so that they can have a wider lens/understanding when working with their kids, students, and clients.

She works 1-1 with clients of all ages, offers consultation to parents, coaches and educators, facilitates group programs and offers workshops on a variety of wellness topics.

Sara grew up in the Pioneer Valley and currently lives in Belchertown, MA with her husband and two boys ages 18 and 10, while homeschooling her youngest. To find out more about her work, and to get in touch visit www.saravatore.com and www.peakperformwithsara.com

Emily Hunt

Director of Creativity & Content Development

Emily Hunt graduated from Agawam High School in 2019. She has always been passionate about writing, and having a positive impact on society.

She began her nervous system regulation journey in January 2021 when she was introduced to Sara Vatore. Sara taught her how to detach from her thoughts, practicing to view them objectively, rather than getting consumed by them. She received the language and tools necessary in order to analyze the patterns of her nervous system, and integrate new practices and habits that served her well in the pursuit of her goals; as well as maintaining her well-being.

She began working with Lead Yourself Youth in March 2022, joining the mission to make these tools and practices accessible to all teens and young adults 🙂 With the help of her mentor, Andrea Bordenca, and new colleagues at Lead Yourself Youth, Emily was able to partner with Agawam High School. She broke down the content she’d learned from Sara and Andrea to create student workshops that her and Andrea facilitate after school.

Emily continues to expand on her nervous system learning as well as her experience facilitating and leading workshops. She wrote an article for the Venture Way Collaborative website [LINK] and has plans for a few new pieces. She’s beginning to dabble in social media as well, so turn on post notifications for @leadyourself on instagram!! She is so grateful to be a part of the Lead Yourself Youth team <3

Robert Allingham

Community Engagement Strategist

Robert Allingham’s background is in Hospitality, Business Management, and Outdoor Education. He grew up in England before moving to the US in 2013. While in the US he has received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Business Management.

Robert’s focus is on building leadership skills in young leaders through hands-on team building exercises. During his time as a Program Director at a YMCA Camp in the Berkshires he led numerous sessions with children and young adults, focusing on enabling individuals to build upon and unearth skills within themselves to help them become more confident, stronger leaders and team-members.

Our Vision & Mission

Our Mission

Our mission is to empower youth with language, tools, and nervous system regulation practices to ensure all communities and future leaders have the ability to produce psychological safety, regardless of socioeconomic status. Lead Yourself Youth collaborates with educators, youth, school districts, and whole communities to transform the institution of education into an inclusive space.

Our Vision

Lead Yourself Youth envisions an inclusive world that prioritizes healing inter/intra personal barriers so limiting beliefs no longer hold back individuals, educational institutions, communities, and society; we believe in a society that bases its worth on inclusion, empathy, virtue, and humanity.

Want to Learn More?

Book a call with us!

 “Thank you for what your are doing-especially the emotional awareness education of children. It is SO important.”


Mom & Educator

Workshop Organizer

“Andrea is aware of my vulnerability and is always kind, nonjudgmental, helpful and professional. Her questions force me to think about the “whys” of what I do and delve deeper into issues that I need to deal with that I never thought needed attention. Through our time together, [Lead Yourself Youth] has provided me with practices and techniques that I have found invaluable in my everyday life. I can now say, proudly, that I am strong, confident and happy.”

Mom & Teacher

Workshop Participant

Let's work together to help shape future leaders. Contact us to explore the possibilities!